PENTIUM CHIP PERFORMS INSIDE COMPUTER STORES

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Personal computers aren't the only place to find Intel inside. Intel Corp. is pushing promotions inside computer stores.

The dominant computer chip marketer is staging in-store events in 20 major metropolitan areas, part of an aggressive move into retail promotions that Intel began late last year.

In the latest effort, Intel representatives will do side-by-side comparisons of an unmarked PC with the top-of-the-line Pentium chip and a PC with an Intel 486 chip to show the speed of Pentium machines.

The 11-week effort started April 16 and will be supported with radio spots from Dahlin Smith White, Salt Lake City. Jack Morton Productions, New York, and Live Marketing, Chicago, managed the in-store promotion.

Intel began telling PC buyers to look for "Intel inside" three years ago and late last year took the message into stores, enticing retailers with co-op money and sending in detailers to look after Intel point-of-purchase displays. The latest promotion extends that retail push. Retailers, such as CompUSA and Best Buy, provide space, and Intel generates the traffic.

A spokeswoman insisted Intel isn't attempting an end run around PC marketers, which often complain privately and occasionally publicly that Intel's brand building turns their products into commodities.

The spokeswoman said Intel is coordinating with marketers of software and Pentium-based PCs to make sure stores have enough hardware and software for the promotion.

The promotion is part of a $150 million, yearlong marketing blitz for Pentium, including Intel ads, PC marketer and retailer co-op ads, and POP promotions.

Intel intends Pentium to become its top seller sometime next year, displacing the slower 486, where the company faces growing competition from clones.

In contrast to Intel's past chip introductions, the year-old Pentium is being accepted faster by home computer buyers than in the business market. That's partly because the consumer market is moving more quickly to software products, such as interactive CD-ROM disks, that demand the power of Pentium. So consumers are the target of the in-store promotion.

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