Silicon chip manufacturer Intel is getting a double dose of
publicity this month, as its successful new TV campaign coincides with
gripes about the prices British PC buyers pay on the high street.
A two-pronged approach by Euro RSCG aims to draw attention to the speed
advantages of its Pentium II processor, as well as reinforcing its
Two humorous, half-minute executions, shown in November, focus on the
’speed matters’ theme. The ’what if’ scenarios imagine the calamities
that would ensue if the time taken to load a computer application were
transferred to a real-life situation.
In one, a sky diver anxiously waits for his parachute to appear, only
for a Windows alert box to appear telling him he needs a faster
The other shows a disaster on the football pitch, when a team’s goalie
can’t be downloaded quickly enough to stop the ball.
’The strategy was to play on the frustration you feel if your PC isn’t
working as fast as it might,’ says Euro RSCG board account director
The agency aimed at high production values for the films, which were
made by its US agencies in New York and California, and is pleased with
the feedback it has been getting.
Intel now offers the high performance Pentium II processor and an
economy chip called Celeron. Both will continue to benefit from the
general branding message in two other commercials that use the ’bunny
people’ image, familiar from earlier campaigns.
Both spots have the familiar ’Intel inside’ branding message and use the
five-note jingle used in all broadcast media.
The bunny people first appeared with the launch of Intel’s MMX
technology a year ago, combining high-tech futurism with the fun side of
multimedia technology. ’It’s still a very powerful icon, and we can use
it as a theme to run through the advertising,’ says marketing manager
Monopoly no more
Intel’s problem is that it provides only one of many components in the
end product. That didn’t matter as long as it had the PC processor
market to itself: its Pentium brand has become synonymous with the rise
and rise of the PC, and over 80% of currently active computers are said
to carry Intel chips.
But, for the past two years, chips made by rivals AMD and Cyrix have
been providing lower-cost alternatives, offering important savings for
That could be making a difference. Intel roused controversy recently
when its chief executive Craig Barrett rounded on Dixons for damaging
Intel sales in Britain by charging ’ridiculous margins’.
Last year 95% of the computers sold by the Dixons Group carried Intel
chips, but that has now dropped to 55%, while the UK market has grown by
30% over the same period. Intel reacted to competition by dropping its
prices, but industry analysts say Dixons has failed to pass the savings
In the UK, Intel has backtracked, fearing Barrett’s remarks would
antagonise its main channel to the high street - Dixons holds 50% of the
home PC market. But now the Consumers’ Association has joined the fray,
threatening to report Dixons to the Monopolies & Mergers Commission.
All of which is why Intel needs ever more powerful ads to push its brand
message to consumers.