Any self-respecting, early adopter techie could tell you that Intel is a leading computer technology company, and that Wi-Fi is short for wire-free internet access.
However, to many, a product such as the Intel Centrino Mobile Technology Wi-Fi microchip remained little known and misunderstood.
To reach them, Intel briefed Media Planning Group with making the Wi-Fi concept accessible to the technophobic mainstream, particularly targeting women who might buy laptops or PCs for their families.
MPG knew that it was vital it presented Wi-Fi in a clear and easy manner, and in a familiar environment.
Traditional media channels were unlikely to deliver the necessary cut-through. However, MPG conceived the idea of partnering with the Dummies Guides. The agency approached Wiley Publishing, which was looking to grow its custom publishing business at the same time, and a plan to launch Wi-Fi for Dummies was hatched.
- Publishing: This commercial partnership between MPG and Wiley Publishing culminated in the production of a 30-page paperback book called Wi-Fi for Dummies.
Euro RSCG provided creative support for the campaign, supplying copy, materials and visuals on request.
- In-store: As distribution formed a key part of the communication strategy, MPG wanted the books to be given out at the UK's leading retailers of IT equipment.
After four months of tough negotiations, the Dixons Stores Group agreed to place 520,000 books on the counters in all of their Dixons and PC World branches.
In addition, MPG took the Dummies strategy to The Mail on Sunday, which developed a "free for every reader" promotion around the book. There were also front cover tip-ons on non-specialist consumer magazines such as What Laptop? and Broadband World.
Intel also distributed the guides at their consumer events and, together with Sony, placed the book inside all Sony Vaio laptop packaging.
More than 1.2 million books were printed and distributed in 2004 and 2005.
The collaboration with Dixons Stores Group allowed MPG to reach more than 50 per cent of all laptop buyers in the UK and position Intel Centrino as offering a helping hand in unfamiliar technology territory.
At PC World and Dixons, members of staff even used the book to explain Wi-Fi to their customers.
More than 2,000 people wrote to MPG with feedback about Wi-Fi for Dummies and Intel has since exported the idea to the US.
The campaign won MPG the Media Campaign of the Year award at the 2005 Campaign Media Awards.
Stuart Sullivan-Martin group strategy director, Mediaedge:cia Let's get straight to it. Wi-Fi for Dummies isn't a good idea ... it's a great idea. And it wasn't executed well ... it was executed fantastically well.
Ideas that are hatched outside the boundaries of "above the line" and "below the line", and which think about communication "channels" in their broadest sense, are not two-a-penny. They take a liberated communications planning approach and a very forward-thinking client.
But perhaps the real gold star for this campaign is the amount of energy and passion that undoubtedly went into making it happen. "Ideas must work through the brains and arms of men, or they are no better than dreams." Emerson was writing about philosophy and politics but he'd be delighted to know his thoughts resonate in the world of widget-selling. The negotiation with Wileys and then Dixons can't have been easy. The tie-ups with Sony, The Mail on Sunday and What Laptop? sound like a bag of hard work. Fantastic stuff.
But there are two nagging thoughts. One's a small one, the other's a bit bigger.
First, when you search the Intel website for Wi-Fi, the first hit of 1,240 is the "Wireless Survival Guide". This looks promising for non-techie audiences. But could this have been taken further? Was there an opportunity to do more with digital and online channels - targeting "mainstream" net users and evangelising what Wi-Fi means in the real world?
The second thought concerns how the campaign has been evaluated. Distribution of books through Dixons ensured that the message was widely promulgated.
Intel's ad team were clearly delighted and there are plans to repeat the exercise in another market. I'd welcome an understanding of how this great idea impacted upon Intel's business because I can't believe that "the brief behind the brief" wasn't to increase Intel's share within the Wi-Fi market.
Did Intel's share of sales of Wi-Fi-enabled laptops within the Dixons stores increase? Has it improved Intel's relationship with the retailer so larger orders were placed of Intel Centrino Wi-Fi-enabled laptops? My guess is it probably did. And it'd be the icing on the cake of a very smart and tenaciously executed idea.
SCORE: 4.5 out of 5.