Intel is launching its biggest marketing campaign in nearly three years to emphasize the company's future-focused brand:
Sandboxes, rock stars and clean rooms mean something entirely different at Intel Corporation, and a new integrated branding campaign by the leading silicon innovator and computer chipmaker will tell the world how.
Representing Intel's biggest marketing campaign in nearly 3 years and the first that spotlights the promotion of the Intel brand and not a processor product, "Sponsors of Tomorrow" will launch May 11 in the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom with limited teaser ads starting today online. Over the next month the campaign will expand to more than two dozen countries with Brazil and Japan rounding out the planned markets in the third quarter. The ambitious campaign conveys the message that gigantic advances of the digital age have been made possible by silicon – the key ingredient in microprocessors – and the vast majority of this silicon has come from Intel.
"For more than 40 years Intel has been delivering tomorrow's 'normal,' and our new marketing campaign is a way for the world to be made aware of this fact," said Deborah Conrad, Intel vice president and general manager, Corporate Marketing Group. "We're hoping to convey that we're not just a microprocessor company, but a move-society-forward-by-quantum-leaps company.
"Our image, our brand are far too powerful to just be a microprocessor when, in fact, the greatest strength of the Intel brand will always be what is still to come. What Intel develops today leads the path toward a better tomorrow."
To ring in the new campaign – literally – a group of Intel employees will ring the ceremonial opening bell for the NASDAQ Stock Market at 9:30 a.m. EDT on May 11. The ceremony will be broadcast live in Times Square on the video screen of the seven-story NASDAQ building and at www.nasdaq.com.
The multi-million-dollar marketing campaign is the largest for Intel since "Multiply," the September 2006 campaign that supported the then-new Intel® Core™ 2 Duo. "Sponsors of Tomorrow" is expected to have a lifespan of 3 to 5 years, and was created by Venables Bell & Partners in San Francisco. It is the first campaign for Intel by the agency since being awarded Intel's master brand account in January.
"Most of the world knows Intel as a huge, multi-national chipmaker, but the company is much more than that," said Paul Venables, the agency's founder and co-creative director. "The more we learned about Intel, the more we realized how narrow our perception had been. This company is forging the future in so many unfathomable ways, and what a shame it is that the general consumer has no idea."
"Sponsors of Tomorrow" includes print, online, outdoor and other advertisement placements, plus such additional marketing efforts as in-store and online retail campaigns, all focused on helping consumers choose the best Intel processor that meets their needs. Global media planning was handled by OMD.
An example of a print ad debuting May 11 in the initial markets is driven by the line, "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.
"Rock Star" also is the basis of a video for broadcast and online. For this concept and other creative in which Intel engineers are identified, the engineers are personified by hired actors, a practice common to marketing campaigns of a quirky, tongue-in-cheek nature. A bio of each engineer portrayed in the ads is on the campaign Web site, www.sponsorsoftomorrow.com, that goes live later today. The employees may be part of future campaign elements.
"Several of the engineers we're personifying confided that acting isn't within their comfort zone," said Sandra Lopez, Intel's global consumer marketing manager. "We respect that and in the spirit of developing tomorrow's 'normal' we appreciate that their focus is on winning patents, not Clios," a reference by Lopez of the global advertising awards competition.
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."
"Clean Room" is a print ad that shows an adorable little girl beaming over how tidy her bedroom is, and to the right is another photo of technicians in a fab, all wearing special uniforms called "bunny suits" that help keep Intel's cleanrooms 10,000 times cleaner than a hospital operating room, a critical step to reduce the chance of airborne particles harming the chips.
Out-of-home, or outdoor ads, also debut May 11 in the three initial markets. In what is likely an advertising first, a digital billboard in New York's Times Square will feature scrolling messages from texters at the famous Manhattan intersection and those in Berlin, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco and other locations where storefront digital signs are linked for a multi-site, international texting experience. The campaign Web site ties the "Text for Tomorrow" effort together. Traditional billboards and bus stop shelters in various markets will bear witty factoids along with the "Sponsors of Tomorrow" slogan next to the Intel logo. Examples are "Today is so yesterday" and "Our sandbox is the size of a fingernail. And 41,000 engineers play in it."
The phased launch begins May 11, as noted, in the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom. The campaign debuts in China and India later this month, and in June is scheduled to be introduced in the following countries: Australia, Canada, France, Indonesia, Italy, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam. Additional parts of Latin America and Africa are scheduled for June introductions, and Brazil and Japan are slated for August and September, respectively.
Retail campaigns encompass a range of executions, from merchandising materials and in-store demos to online ads and training for retail salespeople. The essence of "Sponsors of Tomorrow" will also be incorporated into Intel's online materials developed to assist consumers researching PC purchases. A heavy internal campaign is already underway at Intel campuses throughout the world.