HP's CMO Hints at Upcoming Marketing Plans

Adds McGarryBowen to Roster, but Won't Discuss Agency's Assignment

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Hewlett-Packard's new chief marketing officer has begun to make his mark on the agency lineup handling the $1 billion-plus global brand.

Michael Mendenhall, senior VP-CMO, in an interview with Advertising Age, said McGarryBowen will be handling an unspecified corporate assignment on a project basis. Mr. Mendenhall said the assignment does not have an effect on the marketer's global branding effort, which remains at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. He also said the project is not for any of HP's three divisions.

"We are adding McGarryBowen to our roster of agencies," said Mr. Mendenhall. "HP has significant relationships with a number of agencies that contribute to our success. We are continually seeking ways to be more effective across all aspects of our business, and advertising is no exception."

A sustainability effort?
HP declined to discuss the nature of the assignment, but in a presentation March 11 at a conference sponsored by the Economist, Mr. Mendenhall discussed a number of trends in marketing, one of which was sustainability, the hottest of environmental buzzwords. He said a company could not simply call itself "green" by way of buying carbon credits. Mr. Mendenhall said HP has developed a device that could reduce the amount of energy used by computers in data centers, and that it is thinking about a push to encourage consumers to turn off their computers at night.

Mr. Mendenhall said HP, in looking to agency trends over the next five years, believes more services will move to the web. For example, he said HP's Logoworks -- a small-business provider of logos, stationery, brochures and web design -- uses the Long Tail of the web to give the assignment to a number of designers who present the customer with a design, a process much cheaper than using traditional branding shops.

"We think it certainly is going to change the dynamics of the agency, what the agency provides, and we think many of the agencies who are in certain segment categories are going to have to use the software and certain web-enabled devices to their benefit because certainly companies are under incredible cost pressures," he said.

Mr. Mendenhall last October took over all aspects of HP's corporate-marketing operations globally, including brand marketing, customer intelligence and corporate communications. He joined HP from the Walt Disney Co., where he worked for 17 years, most recently heading a variety of marketing activities for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

Decentralized marketing duties
HP had centralized its advertising under former CEO Carly Fiorina. However, under CEO Mark Hurd, HP returned to a decentralized plan, with each of its three divisions -- personal systems group, imaging and printing group, and technology solutions group -- handling its own marketing. In addition to Goodby, HP's agency roster includes McCann Erickson and Publicis, among others. Zenith Optimedia buys all media.

HP spent $828.2 million in marketing in the U.S. in 2006, according to Advertising Age's DataCenter. In measured media, it spent $408 million in 2007, down from $472 million in 2006, according to TNS Media Intelligence.
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