CAMPAIGNS: Event PR - WSW finds Formula to tout HP products

Client: Hewlett-Packard (Palo Alto, CA)

PR Team: Weber Shandwick Worldwide (Los Angeles)

Campaign: US Formula One Grand Prix

Time Frame: August-September 2000

Budget: dollars 75,000-dollars 100,000

Computers are an integral part of auto racing, a complex sport demanding

total control of dangerous machines moving at ludicrous speeds. Even

expert drivers can be killed in an instant - witness the recent tragedy

involving NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt.

So when Weber Shandwick Worldwide (WSW) EVP Dave Nobs and client

Hewlett-Packard (HP) sought an event to tout the company's products,

they thought of car racing's most complex version: Formula One (F1),

which returned to the US for the first time in nine years at the

Indianapolis Grand Prix last September.


'Formula One is the most technologically demanding motor sport,' says

Nobs. 'One of HP's primary interests in using the demanding theater of

F1 racing was to gain the ultimate case study for their total IT


(We wanted people to) imagine what having teams using all of HP's

products and services could do for business.'

Nobs was tasked with getting out the message that HP is the 'total

solutions provider' and 'innovative technology leader.' HP is the

technology sponsor of Jaguar Racing and IT supplier for Jordan Grand

Prix Racing, providing equipment for use by the teams in engine design,

office use and for telemetry systems. WSW sought to impress the motor

press, consumer media and hi-tech reporters with the versatility of HP's


'In the case of Jaguar, the entire car was designed with use of HP

systems for the first time ever,' explained Nobs.


Though the campaign was focused on the race, the work-up to the event

was complex. To begin with, F1 racing is relatively unknown in the US,

which pays more attention to stock car, Indy car and drag racing.

Nobs created a 'media matrix,' assigning specific HP spokespeople to

pitch individual media categories: motorsports, business, consumer,

advertising, marketing and hi-tech.

A multimedia Web site was made with streaming media, photos, line art

and links. A general e-mail to 1,000 media outlets pointed journalists

to the site. Weber also produced an online briefing for media to learn

more about HP's involvement in F1 racing.

At the race, Weber coordinated a behind-the-scenes video, showing the

use of HP products by the racing teams. Agency staff assisted with

on-site interviews and hospitality for key HP business prospects who had

been invited to the event.

On the week of the event, HP sponsored a racing stunt in New York where

an F1 car raced a cab down Broadway, garnering New York TV coverage and

crucial hits in New York-based national newspapers. 'The key was to

reach IT decision makers in four customer segments: enterprise, large

corporate, small and medium size businesses and the online interactive

area,' says Nobs.

Nobs also coordinated a media event in Indianapolis for reporters to

meet the Jaguar team, race go-carts and test the latest Jaguar racing



Coverage appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The Wall

Street Journal, as well as motorsports magazines, hi-tech and business

publications such as PC World, Information Week and Smart Business.

Much of the TV coverage was Indianapolis-based, but the campaign

received hits on CBS Morning News, CNN Headline News and UPN news, as

well as on several local New York City stations.


Weber is creating an audio/video and CD-ROM sales and marketing tool kit

for customers and prospects.

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