THE APG CREATIVE PLANNING AWARDS 1997: GRAND PRIX

Winner: Compaq Computer
Agency: Bates Dorland
Planner: Vicki Holgate
Executive Creative Director: Tim Ashton
Art Director: Carl Le Blond
Copywriter: Richard Russell
Client: Compaq Computer
Product: Compaq brand

Winner: Compaq Computer

Agency: Bates Dorland

Planner: Vicki Holgate

Executive Creative Director: Tim Ashton

Art Director: Carl Le Blond

Copywriter: Richard Russell

Client: Compaq Computer

Product: Compaq brand



The brief considered how planning helped find a novel way to justify

Compaq’s price premium in an increasingly commoditised market.



This led to advertising which changed the way the industry thinks about

price - so much so that the new ’price rules’ now work alongside the

brand’s image.



Planning placed the decision to buy a PC in the context of other

purchase decisions made by the same people and companies, redefining the

advertising to bring the way businesses think about PC costs in line

with other capital expenditure items, as well as giving the creative and

media team the opportunity to work together to change the way the brand

was advertised.



By any normal analysis, there was no room in the market for a

premium-priced desktop brand. IT managers tended to choose which PC

brand to buy by comparing the purchase price of brands with similar

specifications. Previously, Dorlands had used a straight ’added value’

strategy for Compaq by emphasising a series of unique ’secondary’

features showing how each benefited IT managers. Each feature

represented an example of ’useful innovation’ from Compaq and should

have had the cumulative effect of justifying Compaq’s price premium.



However, the team’s analysis of Compaq’s tracking and post-campaign

research questioned this approach. Each ad let IT managers off the hook

because they did not make the link between innovation and price unless

they had seen the work several times. Price was still uppermost in their

minds and it was too easy for them to carry on dismissing the features

as secondary.



Dorlands knew from an independent study that less than 20 per cent of

the total cost of owning a PC is the purchase price, and that more than

80 per cent of the cost comes from managing it over its lifetime. The

team decided there was an opportunity to make the link between a Compaq

PC’s price premium at purchase with the lifetime cost of ownership.



The main aim of the brief was to encourage those doing the buying to

rethink on price. A combination of media, starting with 96-sheets and

national press ads, was used, then false covers on supplements and IT

publications. Below-the-line work took the form of a Website and mailing

packs of cards.



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Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).