Tuesday, November 30, 2010
‘‘You + HP’’ was launched with a 20-page print insert in the October 2, 2003, edition of USA Today. The idea of spending $10 million on such an insert, designed to run in about a dozen publications, went against the grain of traditional print advertising for photography brands, which tended to focus on maximum coverage and frequency. Because the campaign was ‘‘more lifestyleoriented than anything else,’’ as Berg told Adweek, the company ‘‘had to find a way to stand out in unique environments’’ rather than take a blanket approach to print placement. Goodby’s creative team decided that the magazines in which the insert would appear after its launch should be ones whose editorial focus celebrated the power of photography; the team thus chose such titles as Vogue, the New Yorker, People, Entertainment Weekly, InStyle, ESPN: The Magazine, GQ, Travel + Leisure, and Conde´ Nast Traveler. The inserts put the consumer at the center of HP’s message, featuring the word ‘‘You’’ in a prominent position on nearly every page, employing vibrant photo collages and statements such as ‘‘You are a point-and-shoot revolutionary with an itchy shutter finger’’ and ‘‘You are the Van Gogh of pic files.’’ The ads featured the full range of HP digital-imaging products, pointing out the brand’s coverage of the entire picture-making process but forgoing the usual listings of technical specifications.
The campaign’s initial television spots, directed by Vogel and shot in Barcelona, further underscored the revolutionary nature of digital-photography technology. In both ‘‘You’’ and ‘‘Statue,’’ people in social settings and on city streets were frozen in still frames suggesting photographs, while the scenes’ action moved on briskly and a continuous stream of individual moments were framed before dissolving back into motion. The fluidity of the movement from human interaction to still frame, along with the profusion of photographic possibilities suggested, communicated the limitless options available to the digital-camera owner while dramatizing the integration of artistic expression and ordinary life. The arresting visual effects worked with the Cure’s moody 1989 hit song ‘‘Pictures of You’’ to create, as Adweek put it, ‘‘an emotional paean to digital photography.’’ In 2004 Goodby’s creative team planned a second series of television spots to be paired with the upbeat Kinks song ‘‘Picture Book.’’ This time the challenge was to go beyond illustrating picture-taking possibilities and find a visual method for dramatizing the ease of printing photos. In a test spot filmed as his bid to direct the new series, Vogel shot himself at his desk putting empty white frames around his head while coolly singing along to the Kinks song playing in the background. Vogel then tweaked the footage until it appeared that he was effortlessly creating a series of casual self-portraits from thin air. Not only did this test ad get him the job, but it was reshot with little alteration as the 30-second spot ‘‘Franc¸ois.’’ In the spot ‘‘Picture Book’’ the principle of picking photographs out of thin air was applied to crowds of people. At the start of the commercial, two rows of people held frames to their faces, after which the frames became pictures, and then the people traded these self-portraits with one another. In ‘‘Relay’’ the photographic frame was passed like a baton between groups and individuals. Photos transformed into dynamic real-life scenes and vice versa as the frame made its way through a hypnotic flux of distinctive people and moments.