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Hewlett-Packard Co., in a sign of newfound marketing resolve, is stepping up its attack on Digital Equipment Corp. and beginning its broadest brand campaign ever.

To take on Digital, HP will launch a global promotion March 4 inviting owners of Digital servers to trade them in for new HP UNIX computers. The worldwide promotion, put together in less than two weeks, is part of HP's effort to capitalize on potential customer confusion created by Compaq Computer Corp.'s pending purchase of Digital.

Separately, HP will spend an estimated $12 million to $15 million through June on a TV brand campaign aimed at U.S. businesses. It is the first broad campaign from HP's Computer Organization, a unit created last year to serve as an umbrella group for five HP computer and printer divisions.

"People used to say HP was a great stealth marketer," said Jill Kramer, marketing communications manager for the Computer Organization. "There's been growing recognition within HP that our brand is truly an asset and that it is something we should be investing in. We are being more visible and more aggressive."


The business campaign, created by Saatchi & Saatchi, San Francisco, follows last year's launch of HP's global consumer campaign, a $40 million effort developed by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, in the U.S. and Saatchi in Europe and Asia, with the tag "Expanding Possibilities."

The business brand campaign debuts today on national cable networks after beginning to roll out Feb. 26 in 10 spot TV markets. It is supported by a monthlong ad schedule in The Wall Street Journal.

The campaign features two humorous 30-second spots showing life before and after "e-business." In one, a golf club maker labors to deliver the prototype of a new model to an impatient merchant; in the alternative scene that follows, the customer calls up the new design on the golf company's Internet site.

In the second spot, an airline maintenance worker learns it will take five months to produce a revised manual telling employees not to remove a plane's oil pan plug; the alternative scenario shows him updating the manual via the Internet.

A voice-over concludes: "There's business as usual, and there's e-business as usual," using the "e-business" phrase popularized by IBM Corp. HP timed the campaign to start right after IBM's estimated $50 million Winter Olympics "e-business" campaign.


Spots run through June. Al Reid, a Saatchi account director, said the campaign is likely to go global in the next year.

HP is a ways from achieving the consistency adopted by many big tech marketers in brand and product advertising, such as IBM has done. That largely reflects the centralized approach that made H-P successful. But even among divisions, there are signs of growing consistency in ads.

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