Intel Corp. today introduces a line of cameras for PCs, marking a significant move back into the computer peripherals market that will show how the chip brand translates into other categories.
Intel also is starting an estimated $65 million fall global ad campaign, its biggest ever. The U.S. part is estimated at $30 million, with $35 million being spent internationally; the TV, print, radio and Web effort is designed to begin moving the consumer market to the Pentium II.
The $199 to $399 Intel Create & Share Camera Pack will let consumers do videoconferencing and capture still images and video that can be delivered over the Internet or printed.
Intel initially will promote the camera with Web ads and begin print ads late this year. The marketer's agency is Euro RSCG Dahlin Smith White, Salt Lake City.
The camera, which sits on a PC monitor and must remain plugged into the PC, will compete with similar products from Eastman Kodak Co., which recently entered the field, and Connectix Corp., the current leader in the fledgling market.
These "computer eye" cameras are distinct from the point-and-shoot portable digital cameras being pushed by Kodak, Casio, Olympus America and others.
A new study by market researchers Future Image and International Data Corp. projects 467,000 "computer eye" cameras will be sold in the U.S. this year. But Alexis Gerard, publisher of The Future Image Report newsletter, expects the device to be as common on new PCs as a computer mouse by the year 2000.
Intel isn't the only computer name making a play in digital imaging. Hewlett-Packard Co. this year announced a plan for an array of digital camera products, which Mr. Gerard said fit into Hewlett's real goal to sell more ink cartridges and printers to print out images.
Intel is focusing on imaging products that allow people to use the PC for communication and visual connections, said Lorie Wigle, general manager of Intel's Personal Computer Imaging Operation.
EXITED MODEM MARKET
The camera marks Intel's first significant move back into computer peripherals since it quit the modem market early this decade. Though "Intel inside" is synonymous with chips, Ms. Wigle and Mr. Gerard believe the Intel brand can work outside PC chips.
Mr. Gerard, however, opined that Intel's real purpose is in promoting power-hungry applications for PCs so it can sell more high-end chips.
The new chip campaign features Intel's "BunnyPeople" characters, the disco-dancing chip factory workers introduced in January to launch Intel's Pentium with MMX chips.
One new spot, "Road Trip," shows the characters hitting the road in a custom car "techmobile" to promote the Pentium II.
A second, "Hong Kong," has BunnyPeople showing off their wares at a city celebration in Hong Kong (actually, San Francisco's Chinatown).
They will be part of a pool of five spots; not all will be shown in all countries.
BUNNYPEOPLE TEST WELL
Ann Lewnes, Intel's director of advertising, acknowledged there was some skepticism inside Intel when BunnyPeople started boogying in January. But she said the characters have tested extremely well in the U.S. and abroad with consumers and business buyers.
"We feel very comfortable about using them across all media. We really want to leverage that," she said.
BunnyPeople also are doing in-store appearances, and Intel even has created BunnyPeople dolls.
Copyright September 1997, Crain Communications Inc.