Intel homes in on notebooks

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Intel Corp. debuts its first TV spot promoting a chip for consumer notebook PCs during the National Collegiate Athletic Association semi-finals March 30 on Viacom's CBS.

The Pentium 4 Processor-M spot is part of an estimated $75 million global campaign and illustrates the importance of the fast-growing retail notebook PC segment. An estimated 30 million notebooks will be sold this year, according to tech researcher International Data Corp.

"From a strategic standpoint, mobile is a big focus for us," said John Travis, director of worldwide consumer advertising. The Pentium 4 Processor-M is designed for a new class of thinner, lighter notebook PCs for consumers and businesses.

The campaign by Havas Advertising's Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer Euro RSCG, New York, also includes two spots supporting the Pentium 4 processor for desktop PCs and two spots for developing markets such as Brazil, China and India. The ads destined for those countries seek to raise consumer awareness for "Intel Inside" and tie computers to learning.

The Pentium 4 Processor-M spot features the space aliens introduced in Intel ads during the second half of 2001. This time, an alien floats in space while working on a notebook PC. Voice-over says: "Get a powerful desktop PC without the desk." Frank Sinatra's rendition of "Fly Me to the Moon" is soundtrack to the spot. A print push targeted to information technology professionals is planned for tech trade titles. Online ads from Modem Media, San Francisco, focus heavily on travel Web sites.

Stephen Baker, director of research for NPD Techworld, estimates notebook PC sales could approach 30% of the market by year's end. "When you look at what's happened with the desktop business in the last 18 months, the desktop growth is really slowing," Mr. Baker said. "Notebooks are in a very good space right now among people who are actually buying computers."

The $75 million global ad budget includes sustaining support for Intel's flagship Pentium 4 desktop processor, which hit the market in late 2000. In January 2002, the Pentium 4 constituted 33% of the desktop PC market and Intel's lower-cost Celeron chip represented 47%; Advanced Micro Devices held most of the rest of the market, according to NPD Techworld. While desktop PC growth has slowed, Intel has no intention of easing up on desktop processor support. The other two spots in the campaign tout the enriched experience the Pentium 4 offers for PC gaming and music.

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