HP Super Bowl Strategy to Stoke Sales

Ad Features Star of 'Orange County Choppers'

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SAN FRANCISCO ( -- Hewlett-Packard, which is taking its first plunge into the Super Bowl, wants to make sure its big-game ad moves the merchandise. So it's put together a hot deal for consumers on its website as part of a Super Bowl special: a $349.99 HP brand computer, monitor and printer.
Paul Teutul Sr.
Paul Teutul Sr. Credit: Orange County Choppers

"We are looking for opportunities to leverage" the Super Bowl spot, said David Roman, VP-marketing communications, personal-systems group. Mr. Roman is trying to turn the week after the Super Bowl into a major promotional period for the computer business, and said he expects it to be as big as weeks around the Christmas holiday.

Creative was key
HP was interested in advertising in the Super Bowl, but one of the key considerations was having a strong enough piece of creative. "The cost of space was not small," Mr. Roman said. "But the issue was creative."

The Super Bowl spot stars Paul Teutul Sr. of "Orange County Choppers," the TLC reality series featuring Mr. Teutul's motorcycle shop. The commercial open on the motorcycle maker's midsection and burly tattooed arms. A motorcycle grows out of his hands as he talks about how he uses his HP server to make movies to show clients, search the web, organize papers and develop concept motorcycles, some of which have "turned into really great rides," Mr. Teutul says.

Although the Super Bowl spot will be 30 seconds long, a 60-second version will run on HP's website.

The "macho spot" featuring a big guy with a big voice is perfect for the big game, Mr. Roman said.

'A life of its own'
"It's much more than the 30 seconds on the Super Bowl," he said. "If you're in the top 20 ads, you get huge extra exposure. Hype happens." The spot, he said, "takes a life of its own. If not, it's just a very expensive piece of media."

The HP Super Bowl campaign will include teaser spots and print ads, as well as online banner ads leading to a web page where visitors will find the computer offer.

HP will measure its success based on the number of people who go to a landing page on its website, drawn by the teaser campaign and the Super Bowl ad. Mr. Roman also plans to measure brand impact, viral distribution and, ultimately, sales of those Super Bowl specials.

No Nielsen
He will not, however, be looking at Nielsen, because the spot's afterlife will be much more important than any rating. "We know it's the most-watched TV show," he said. "All the other things we think are more important."

The spot is part of HP's "The computer is personal again" campaign. The next round of celebrities in the campaign will include a dress designer, an author and a director.
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