Power Players 2009

HP's Michael Mendenhall Is Ad Age's No. 30 Power Player

Tech Giant Gets a Cohesive Marketing Strategy to Go With Engineering Acumen

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THE POWER: Hewlett-Packard is a storied Silicon Valley institution. But its "stories" – the insular engineer culture, former celebrity CEO Carly Fiorina, and its awkward merger with Compaq that sparked several boardroom showdowns -- seemed to get bigger notice than the its products or marketing. All that has changed with the addition of former Disney marketing exec Mr. Mendenhall and his top-down cohesive marketing strategy. HP is now adeptly presenting one brand image to the world. It's been one of the first companies to recognize digital as the best avenue to reach customers, with both its ad-budget dollar shifts and renewed emphasis on digital communications and marketing occurring under Mr. Mendenhall.

THE NUMBERS: HP grew its worldwide PC shipments in the third quarter by 9% and remains the PC market share leader with a 20% share, according to IDC, trailed by Acer at 14% and Dell at 13%. First-half measured media spending was up 1.8%, to $94.6 million over the same period in 2008. Full-year 2008 measured spending was $223 million.

THE KEY LIEUTENANTS: The most visible is Satjiv Chahil, senior VP-marketing for the Personal Systems Group, which is the PC division. Mr. Chahil, along with David Roman, who is VP-marketing communications, are both Apple alum who have made staggering progress in reinvigorating cool for the HP computer brand.

THE CHALLENGE: Being the largest tech company in the world has its advantages, but it also means managing a massive marketing force across several divisions. With HP's history of siloed divisions, Mr. Mendenhall will have to be vigilant in his unified marketing efforts.

THE AGENCIES: Omnicom's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners is the agency of record in the U.S., but sister shop BBDO joined the roster last year, replacing Publicis on the printing and imaging assignment in the U.S. Still, it's Goodby that's been there through the ups and downs over the past 13 years and keeps coming up with winners like the "Hands" ads and "The Computer Is Personal Again" campaign for HP computers.

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