HP Is Latest Marketer to Make Money-Back Promise

Campaign From Goodby Assures Lower Printing Costs

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Hewlett-Packard Co. is trying to persuade customers to use its managed print services by promising recession-weary businesses: "We'll cut your printing costs or we'll cut you a check."

HP Printing Payback

Print ads for the campaign will appear in major newspapers such as The New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

The first stage of the technology marketer's campaign, from Omnicom Group's Goodby Silverstein & Partners, is dubbed "Hit Print Intelligently." The push is meant to elevate the profile of the managed print services division, an area of renewed focus for HP. The effort, which broke this week, consists of online banners, a microsite and print ads in major newspapers such as The New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

Here's how the offer works: HP will conduct a custom assessment of a company to get a picture of the how many printing devices it uses and how much power and paper the company consumes. It will also tally page counts per machine to get a snapshot of which printers are being underutilized. HP will then recommend an ideal printer fleet to serve the company's needs, and identify a cost-savings estimate. If one year later the HP estimate falls short, HP will make up the difference.

Tom Codd, director of enterprise segment marketing for the imaging and printing group at HP, said he hopes the "aggressive" strategy and payback promise will capture the attention of C-level executives looking for ways to rein in costs and reduce their environmental footprint.

HP is also betting the campaign will help it sway customers from its primary competitors in the space, Xerox and, to a smaller extent, Ricoh.

Forcing people to pay attention
To convince customers that its offer isn't too good to be true, HP loaded its new microsite with case studies documenting the savings generated by some big-name marketers already using HP's managed print services. For example, HP helped 3M reduce total printing costs by $3 million in the first two years, and cut energy use for printing by more than 60% at Viacom.

"It's so easy right now for consumers to ignore anything that asks them to spend any money," said John Coyne, associate partner and worldwide group director at San Francisco-based Goodby. "To get companies to spend money, you have to find a way to fit it into their need to cut costs or their desire to be green, and this is a great way of doing both."

Mr. Coyne added: "We knew that we had to put a message out there that would force people to pay attention, and to HP's credit, they were really open to trying something different."

It probably helps that HP can relate to its customers' cost-cutting moves; the giant itself has undertaken a massive reorganization of its business, including re-jiggering its agency roster and slashing its marketing costs in half. HP spent $223 million in U.S. measured media in 2008, down from $417 million in 2007, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

This is not the first time Goodby has encouraged a client to address the recession head-on in its marketing. Earlier this year, it crafted ads to promote Hyundai's "Assurance" program, which allows new-vehicle buyers or those who lease to return their cars for up to a year after purchase if they lose their jobs.

"The success we had with Hyundai was certainly useful background to us as we were planning this launch with HP," Mr. Coyne said.

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