Campaign Casebook: Hewlett-Packard

The computer giant caught the imagination of the graphics sector with an innovative art show. Hewlett-Packard (H-P) identified graphics professionals as important opinion-formers for its commercial imaging and printing division. This group influences professional photographers, whose choice of scanner could ultimately dictate the choices of anyone from the keen amateur digital photographer to the agency creatives whose favoured brands influence their friends. 'Research shows that this group had no salient image of H-P,' says Emmanuel Klotz, marketing director, EMEA, of the company's commercial imaging and printing division. 'It wasn't a negative association; they just felt H-P was not relevant to them.' Canon and Epson were the group's preferred brands.

'Although our market share was good, we couldn't ignore the views of this important group,' adds Klotz. 'Today's perceptions are tomorrow's market share.'

The Hype gallery project was conceived at the end of 2003, initially to run in the UK. H-P invited young artists to display their work as long as they included the letters 'h' and 'p' in it. Klotz says that the team was 'a bit tense' the night before the gallery's opening in January, as they were concerned that only a few people would turn up with art to be projected. But the marketing did the trick, and hordes of amateur artists arrived.

Website coverage

Everything that was brought along was displayed, together with the artists' details. Once full capacity had been reached - about 380 pieces of art and 100 films - the first wave of work was uploaded onto the website.

The campaign had been targeted to dissuade members of the general public arriving 'with their holiday snaps', according to Klotz. This involved postcard media in bars close to colleges, and press and online ads in specialist publications. Once the gallery opened, the media selection was widened to attract a broader selection of Londoners, with ads in Time Out and newspaper listings sections.

The aim of the advertising was to provide a platform for up-and-coming artists. The team did not have to look far to find an animator, using Slinky, who was based in the Truman Brewery (the venue for the gallery).

They also used video jockeys from independent film collective 0.1. Their work was shown before films in cinemas across the capital in November and December to trail the project. Publicis stretched the relatively modest budget by scoring deals with creatives interested in getting involved with the project.

H-P was so impressed by Hype's success that a similar event is being planned for Paris. What is more, the work has been rewarded with two Cannes Gold Lions and a D&AD silver pencil, principally for the use of interactive media.

AGENCIES

Advertising: Publicis

Media: ZenithOptimedia

PR: Hill & Knowlton, Countrywide Porter Novelli

Online: Publicis Dialog

Events: Cake Ambient Diabolical Liberties, Moose

Budget: £864,000

MEDIA PLAN

Objective

Hewlett-Packard (H-P) and Epson have for the past few years vied for leadership of the computer printers market. But although H-P's market share is healthy, research identified a problem with its brand perception.

Graphics professionals - one crucial group of opinion-formers for the printers market - had a neutral view of the brand, not finding it relevant to them in any way. The challenge for H-P was to find a way of communicating with this extremely marketing-literate audience in a language and style that they would respect. This approach was a subtle way of persuading the target audience that H-P has something worthwhile to offer them.

Strategy

H-P wanted to be regarded with the same degree of respect by the creative community as Apple. To target this market successfully, the company realised that it was critical to find a non-traditional medium. It was decided to create an art gallery in East London's Brick Lane. The gallery would host the work of a selection of young artists, designers, photographers and film-makers, providing they somehow included the letters 'h' and 'p' in their work. The project, named Hype, was a knowing play on the fact that much of the target market would be aware of what H-P was trying to achieve,so the company consciously chose to veer away from masking this.

Execution

A carefully targeted campaign ensured that only the art community was invited to bring along its work. The artwork was subsequently scanned or printed and projected onto the wall of the gallery. It targeted students at college - the Hype logo surfaced on phone boxes, pavements, walls and shop floors, on the steps of Central St Martins College of Art and at the University of London's Goldsmiths College. Graphics professionals were reached via ads in magazines such as MacWorld, Dazed & Confused and Grafik. Street posters, with radical images inspired by the 'h' and 'p' brief, were posted, and short films were commissioned.

Results

The response was huge - 1193 pieces of printed artwork and 94 films were submitted to the gallery, and the website - www.hype-gallery.com - received 24,000 visitors. One of the artists whose work was displayed was even contacted by a commercial London gallery that was interested in displaying his work. It has been impossible to quantify the success of the Hype project because the aim was to alter long-term perceptions. However, anecdotal evidence of its role in shifting attitudes has been strong. 'We found real respect among the artists who took part,' says H-P executive Emmanuel Klotz. 'Everyone gained and no one felt used.'