12:16 PM

Intel "Bong" Marks Start Of Massive Marketing Campaign

Intel (an SVW sponsor) on Monday morning (May 11) is launching its largest marketing campaign in 3 years and its first promoting the company and not a product.

The "Sponsors of Tomorrow" campaign is focused on the people of Intel and will be initially launched in the US, Germany, and UK, then rolled out to more than two dozen countries, reaching Brazil and Japan in the third quarter. It is expected to run 3 to 5 years.

The campaign is being launched at NASDAQ in New York's Times Square.

In honor of the occasion, Heather Dixon, Consumer Marketing Manager of Intel Corporation [INTC], and Intel engineers featured in some of the advertising will ring the Opening Bell to launch "Sponsors of Tomorrow," the new global campaign emphasizing Intel’s future-focused brand. This is the first time that NASDAQ’s traditional bell has been replaced by another sound, the familiar Intel bong.

The goal of the Intel campaign is to promote Intel as a "move-society-forward-by-quantum-leaps company" rather than just a microprocessor company. However, the campaign does celebrate the role of silicon chips in creating the future, and that much of that silicon has come from Intel.

OMD created the campaign. An example of a print ad:

"Your rock stars aren't like our rock stars." The two-picture visual is, at left, a grunge rock 'n roll band looking cool in sunglasses and jeans behind bright stage lights; and, in the photo at right, two bespectacled computer engineers are sporting white lab coats in their techy environment. But these aren't just any engineers. As the ad copy explains, they are the designers of the very first microprocessor. "Back in 1969," the ad says, "their Intel 4004 blew people's minds wide open -- a tradition that's still very much alive" at Intel.


Another video, titled "Oops," is set at a technology convention, where Intel is about to reveal a new microprocessor to a packed auditorium. As the dramatic unveiling is about to happen onstage, Intel employees and reporters struggle to find the tiny chip on the floor, and have the impossible task of finding it. The tagline: "Our big ideas aren't like your big ideas."

Foremski's Take:

It's interesting that Intel is promoting Intel rather than any of its chip products. In many ways, it makes because Intel no longer has any competitors to worry about. Advanced Micro Devices is its closest competitor but it is beset by problems. Intel has won the the "war" and that makes it less interesting than before, when it was still fighting competitive battles.

Intel's culture is very competitive, so it must seem strange not to have anyone significant to compete against. That's usually not a very interesting situation for people inside Intel, or out, or at any large company (GOOG, MSFT, ORCL ....)

Today, Intel chips are in almost every computer large and small, and because the competitive battles are done, there are fewer opportunities to write about Intel. Except in terms of having investors still interested in Intel, which is why the campaign kicks off at NASDAQ.

Intel's marketing is very important to its customers, the various digital device manufacturers that receive marketing money from Intel. This is a very large pot of money that helps sell their products.

Intel is searching for a way to market itself and its customers in this new online world. It has pulled back from most of its print, radio, and TV advertising.

Maybe Intel should become the ad agency for its customers. Instead of doling out money for the marketing budgets of customers, Intel can orchestrate things on a global level with common ads, videos, and other promotional items. That would allow Intel to provide high quality marketing materials to its customers, which would help them sell their gizmos . . . and sell more Intel silicon.

I'm one of the "Intel Insiders" a group that Intel uses to consult on its marketing programs. Here is a quick video from about a year ago, from our first Intel Insiders meeting, where Sean Maloney, Intel's #2, and head of marketing, talks about the "fog" -- the challenges of online marketing.