The Future Is So Not Uncool in Intel's B2B Campaign

Campaign Shows How Company Can Allay the Fears of Forward-Looking Business Leaders

Published On
Apr 18, 2017

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The future is so uncool. At least that's how he thinks of himself, until Intel comes around, in a new B2B campaign out of TBWA/Chiat/Day L.A. and directed by Imperial Woodpecker's Stacy Wall.

The brand, which is known for its often complex digitally-driven marketing ideas, is reaching out to a broader target of marketers in a new series of television and social films that personify the future as a shimmery-skinned, insecure dude, who seems to scare off regular folks left and right.

In one ad, for example, a woman reading The Economist on a train stares Future down. "She says the future freaks her out," he tells fellow passenger Jim Parsons, frontman of the brand's previous spots and foil in these new ads.

In another spot set in a boutique, Future considers a pair of fuschia briefs and asks the owner/designer accusingly, "Who designed this store?" He tells him he can't find anything, but then goes on to assure the storekeeper that one day he'll become very rich, since he ends up leveraging Intel data and tech to make his store a lot more responsive to customer needs.

Yet another commercial shows him sitting shotgun alongside Parsons in traffic, their conversation revealing how in the coming years, Intel's data powering autonomous cars will help to make gridlock a thing of the past.

So ultimately, thanks to Intel, the future is nothing to fear.

Alyson Griffin, global marketing communications vice president and leader of Intel's data center marketing group, noted that the message of the campaign is "We know the future because we're building it."

Intel's research led to a key, universal insight among senior business leaders: "They have anxiety about what the future will bring, and fear their companies will be outpaced by emerging technologies," said VP-Global Creative Director Teresa Herd.

The campaign aims to reassert Intel's technology leadership while communicating its "futuristic" inroads into areas such as artificial intelligence, autonomous driving, retail and healthcare.

And it's targeting a new group of decision makers. "For the first time in Intel history, the company is looking at B2B in a whole new way," said Herd. "Beforehand, the company addressed technical content for businesses and the company spoke mostly to IT decision-makers But as technology adoption decisions have shifted from the sole responsibility of IT departments to include a line of business managers, Intel aims to increase its mindshare with this audience."

"These leaders aren't tech people per se, but they're facing new factors like artificial intelligence, and our research showed many of them had real anxieties about the future -- like another company disrupting their entire industry tomorrow," added John Hickman, group planning director, TBWAChiatDay Los Angeles. "We saw a huge opportunity to position Intel as the partner that could get them confident and excited about what the future will bring, and I think we brought that insight to life in a fun, human, way."

The campaign is its most prominent effort out of TBWA since Intel tapped it to be its global B-to-B agency last fall. Previously, the agency created a film, "Letting Go," for CES promoting the brand's efforts in autonomous driving technology.

Intel is not disclosing financial details about the campaign, which began rolling out TV and online in late April in the U.S. with vertical efforts in China, Germany, Japan and the U.K. to begin running this month.

Interestingly, Dell Technologies, which emerged as a potentially significant competitor to Intel since its record-setting acquisition of EMC last September for $67 billion, recently debuted a major multi-spot branding campaign starring Jeffery Wright. It aims to showcase how Dell Technologies can help organizations "build their digital future."