Tech Company Makes Digital Photography Central to Effort

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Hewlett-Packard Co. took its first major foray into the world of consumer marketing with a $300 million campaign touting digital photography.

HP last year rolled out a global branding campaign that carried the theme "Everything is possible." After focusing part of its effort on companies and CEOs, the new consumer campaign, which broke yesterday, stretches the theme to include the word "you": "You + HP = Everything is possible."

Like Coke and Nike
"It's HP's bid to be a consumer brand

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and play with the big boys, like Coke and Nike," said Steve Simpson, a partner and creative director at HP's ad agency, Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco. As electronic products converge, with phones becoming cameras, and personal computers taking the place of TV's in the living room, Mr. Simpson said "HP's trying to get in front of it. They can own the category."

Allison Johnson, HP's senior vice president for global brand and communications, said the campaign also is in anticipation of what she expects will be a big holiday season for digital photography.

"Digital photography will be the hot seller this upcoming holiday shopping season," she said. She added that last year, digital cameras had "terrific" sales, and that this year the economy is showing signs of turning around.

Digital entertainment
With that in mind, HP is moving into products in the digital entertainment space. "We create linkages across products both from a hardware and software perspective," she said. "We have engineered a great experience" for users of tech products, she said.

Mr. Simpson described the look of the first spot as "cubist," and it features the song "Pictures of You" by '80s band The Cure. Spots will run on prime-time shows Friends, Will & Grace and CSI as well as broadcasts of the National Football League and prime-time and cable programming.

In addition the TV effort, HP is launching a Web site which will publish "blogs," or Web logs, that feature online photo essays from amateur photographers. In November, the blogs will include those from a number of unspecified "A-list" celebrities, Mr. Simpson said. Some amateur photos will be set to music and placed in commercials to be shown in theaters.

Print ads running in USA Today and The New York Times Magazine, as well as a number of consumer lifestyle and entertainment magazines, have headlines such as "You see pictures everywhere" and "You click fearlessly and delete easily." Placing ads in lifestyle magazines is a departure for HP, which primarily targeted business publications.

Subway stations
Later this month, HP ads will take over two subway stations, the Montgomery Street station of the Bay Area Rapid Transit in San Francisco and the Columbus Circle subway stop in Manhattan. Each station will be completely outfitted with an exhibit of HP photo essays and ads. Even station pillars with be wrapped with the ads. An HP film will also run on the Reuters billboard in New York's Times Square.

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