Marketing Campaign Case Studies

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Given its sprawling portfolio HP competed with a wide range of companies, but its ‘‘You + HP’’ campaign, while leveraging and further establishing its overall brand identity, directly pitted the company against other digitalcamera manufacturers. At the time of the campaign it was number six among digital-camera vendors in the United States, well behind segment leaders Eastman Kodak Company and Sony Corporation. Kodak’s success, according to Advertising Age, was chiefly attributable to its ‘‘century-long simple stance that Kodak equals pictures.’’ Though hampered somewhat by losses in the rapidly diminishing film-photography side of its business, Kodak could claim, like HP, to offer simple solutions to the entire picture-making process, especially as PCs became unnecessary for printing. Kodak had the industry-leading photo printer as well as the industry-leading online printing and storage site (called the Kodak EasyShare Gallery), and it had kiosks at major retail stores, such as Wal-Mart and CVS, that allowed consumers yet another outlet for printing pictures. Kodak’s digital-imaging ads therefore focused on ease of use while reinforcing the company’s history of photographic excellence.
Sony likewise made appeals to consumers based on its legacy, but that legacy was one of ‘‘quality technology and cutting-edge design,’’ according to Advertising Age, rather than one of film photography. This image merged neatly with the company’s digital-imaging marketing efforts, which drew attention to the convenient size and sleekness of Sony cameras. In 2005 Sony reinforced its image by unveiling the tagline ‘‘WorryFree Digital Products,’’ orchestrating a marketing push with partner retailers to head off the concerns of first-time digitalcamera buyers and assure them that its products were simple and easy to use.


HP had a storied history of innovation and was a Fortune 100 company when Carly Fiorina took over as chief executive officer in 1999. Though the company was well known for its quality products and particularly for its printers, ‘‘it had become clear,’’ according to Advertising Age, ‘‘that HP had to do something to change its consumer image.’’ HP’s takeover of its rival Compaq in 2002—at a time when PC sales (the heart of Compaq’s business) were abysmal—raised further questions about the company’s direction in the precarious postbubble marketplace. Fiorina and Allison Johnson, HP’s senior vice president for global brand and communications, asked agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners to answer these questions by showcasing the merger itself and then by focusing on other high-profile but previously unpublicized HP partnerships in a large-scale rebranding push that broke in the fall of 2002.
Ads touting the merger used an ‘‘HP + Compaq’’ graphic to show the strength of the partnership, and the ‘‘+’’ sign was then used as a unifying visual symbol in the larger branding campaign, which extolled HP’s contributions to an impressive array of corporate and institutional partners. The campaign was launched with ‘‘Anthem,’’ a television spot that, as Creativity magazine noted, ‘‘linked HP technology to bigger and cooler things—Dreamworks’ imagemaking, FedEx’s efficiency, BMW’s Formula 1 need for speed.’’ Other memorable ads were ‘‘Restore,’’ which brought figures from a Dutch master painting to life in order to illustrate the role HP played in restoring art for London’s National Gallery, and ‘‘The Next Shift,’’ which featured iconic toys—Slinky, Elmo, Spiderman, and others—commuting to work in Manhattan as a way of illustrating HP’s involvement in keeping Toys ‘‘R’’ Us stores stocked and ready for business. Creativity selected Goodby’s HP branding work as its campaign of the year for 2003, arguing that the spots had worked together to ‘‘render formerly square HP a magnetic new personality.’’
Meanwhile the rapid rise in popularity of digital cameras presented one of the few bright spots in the dismal technology sectors of the struggling American economy. As the 2003 holiday season approached, digital cameras were poised to overtake traditional cameras in yearly sales for the first time. Though HP was not known for its cameras, its wide portfolio of products meant that it was positioned to offer consumers an integrated system for home digital photography.


Long known as a reliable but predictable maker of computer printers, Hewlett-Packard Company (HP) was, in 2003, engaged in a recasting of its moribund image, a project initiated by HP’s chief executive officer, Carly Fiorina, after a divisive 2002 merger with computer company Compaq. That year HP unveiled its most ambitious consumer advertising campaign ever. The new campaign, called ‘‘You + HP,’’ featured HP’s digital cameras and imaging products, a segment of the Fortune 100 company’s operations that was seen as a major growth opportunity.
‘‘You + HP’’ supplemented an ongoing enterprise campaign that had introduced the ‘‘+’’ graphic as a means of showcasing HP’s partnerships with other companies and institutions and that further positioned the old-line company as a forward-looking, glamorous company in tune with twenty-first-century lifestyles. Developed by HP’s main U.S. advertising agency, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners of San Francisco, the campaign broke in October 2003 with the risky use of 20-page print inserts, first in USA Today and later in trendsetting magazines, and went on to feature some of the most talked-about television spots of the time. Directed by Franc¸ois Vogel, the television spots dramatized the digital-photography revolution with visuals integrating still frames and live action, while catchy pop music by the Cure (in the campaign’s first year) and the Kinks (in the second year) played as the spots’ sound track.
The print and television portions of ‘‘You + HP’’ were well received by industry commentators as well as the general public, and the campaign was credited with effectively updating HP’s image for a new generation of consumers. The campaign continued to evolve, and the company’s broader marketing efforts kept the ‘‘+ HP’’ idea as their starting point. HP’s change in direction, however, was not welcomed by all; the company’s board of directors ousted Fiorina in 2005.