HP expands brand and budget

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Hewlett-Packard Co. Nov. 11 unveils a $75 million integrated consumer brand initiative that adds a brand line -- "Expanding Possibilities" -- to the HP logo.

In the fiscal year started Nov. 1, HP will spend $15 million on North American TV brand ads from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco; $25 million on ads from Saatchi & Saatchi in Europe and Asia; and $35 million on collateral materials and redesigned packaging.

North American spots start Nov. 19 on cable and expand Nov. 20 to a U.S. network buy including NBC's "Must See TV" lineup. Three spots will show how ordinary people do extraordinary things with HP technology. Most of the $15 million will be spent before Christmas on what is HP's first consumer brand campaign.

The campaign expands next calendar year into Europe and Asia. HP hasn't decided whether to play off Goodby's work or have Saatchi develop an all-new campaign using the brand line. HP also hasn't decided what type of media to use abroad. In some regions, it may opt for alternatives, such as event sponsorship, rather than running brand ads.

HP joins a crowded field of tech advertisers -- including IBM Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Apple Computer -- in developing brand campaigns. HP intends to run its campaign for at least five to seven years.

"The `Expanding Possibilities' idea and the brand associations that we're seeking to have are viewed as a long-term commitment," said spokesman Jeremy James.

All product ads, point-of-sale materials, consumer Web sites and packaging for HP consumer products in coming months will incorporate the logo, brand line and a new custom-designed sans-serif font. The brand statement and new design template will begin to appear this quarter in U.S. printer and home PC ads; HP expects to spend $15 million-to-$20 million this quarter on U.S. consumer product ads.

HP is counting on the consumer campaign to build its brand as HP pushes into new product categories -- digital cameras, for example -- where it will take on such powerful consumer brands as Eastman Kodak and Sony Electronics.

HP's research shows consumers see HP as making quality, well-engineered and reliable products. But consumers also don't regard HP as an innovator and see the company as not particularly "accessible," according to research commissioned by HP.

HP hopes the campaign will drive home an image for innovation and accessibility, giving HP a personality and giving consumers a personal connection to the brand. HP will position itself as a technology company that makes exciting things possible through innovative and easy-to-use products.

"We want to add a sense of connection and accessibility and a sense of wonder -- `expanding possibilities,' " Mr. James said.

The brand initiative, a radical departure from the decentralized communication that always has been the core of HP product groups, is the work of Brian Burch, HP's first worldwide consumer brand manager.

Mr. Burch and Landor Associates, San Francisco, initially created "Expanding Possibilities" and the design template for HP's consumer communications. But HP and Saatchi next year plan to use the line on some business-to-business advertising.

This is the second major HP assignment for Goodby Silverstein, which replaced Saatchi last year as agency on HP's North American consumer and business printer ads.

The Saatchi network, which handles advertising for HP's Pavilion home PC in the U.S. and Canada, is HP's main business computer agency globally and manages printer advertising in Asia and Europe.

Copyright November 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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