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Marketer: Hewlett-Packard

Agency: Publicis, London

HP frees the music with electric guitars embedded in London bus shelters

[London] Passersby on London streets were surprised by the sound of soaring guitar music this summer, part of an innovative campaign by Hewlett-Packard that gave a fresh, local angle to a global brand strategy.

The starting point for Publicis Groupe's Publicis Worldwide was HP's global corporate brand campaign, by Omnicom Group's Goodby Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, in which ads feature Jimi Hendrix and highlight HP's collaboration with electric guitar company Fender.

Working with HP's media agency, ZenithOptimedia, Publicis took the guitar concept to the streets using interactive sonic posters. Ten genuine Fender guitars were sealed in plastic and placed inside showcase bus shelters, with music playing at regular intervals. In addition, passersby were invited to "free the music" by pushing buttons on the poster to hear six different guitar solos. The guitars (four of which ended up being stolen) were featured alongside creative from the global campaign.

HP also targeted guitar enthusiasts with a contest to win a Fender. Flyers and posters by London guitar shops and music venues invited young guitarists to send a two-minute demo tape. The best six were invited, with friends, to a playoff in a guitar cafe-bar.

During the project HP, filmed the posters, with peoples' reactions, and the playoff as part of a documentary being used as internal PR at its European offices.

Chris Aldhous, creative director on HP at Publicis, London, said the campaign follows the spirit of last year's "Hype" project for HP, in which art students were invited to show their work off at a specially-created gallery. "As with Hype, the media became part of the message as to how inventive HP is-and with the guitar giveaway there was a genuine transaction between consumer and brand."

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