HP's TouchSmart: A Marketing 50 Case Study

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Touchscreens in gadgets are nothing new -- handheld video games, smartphones and even ATMs sport them these days. However, touchscreen computers had never really taken off until now.

Hewlett-Packard Co.'s second version of the TouchSmart is selling "as many as [HP] can make right now," says David Roman, VP-marketing communications for the company's Personal Systems Group. The computer has also won more than a dozen awards for design and functionality since its debut this summer.

"This year everything really came together," Mr. Roman says. "The technology works really well, there are enough applications to take advantage of it and ... at an industrial-design level, it's state of the art."

HP considers TouchSmart a halo product, and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, created an anthemic "Maestro" TV commercial. There's also extensive online ad support. HP set up product demonstrations with partners around the country, including a Fashion Week appearance in Los Angeles with trend blog DailyCandy. The way HP pursues product-placement deals is also undergoing a change with the TouchSmart. Instead of just handing out computers to put in TV shows and movies, HP is working with producers to showcase its touchscreen. Look for such an enhanced role for TouchSmart this month in an episode of ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."
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