CAMPAIGNS: Service Launch - HP gets virtual at NY business expo

Client: Hewlett-Packard Education (Mountain View, CA)

Client: Hewlett-Packard Education (Mountain View, CA)

Client: Hewlett-Packard Education (Mountain View, CA)

PR Team: Hoffman Agency (San Jose, CA)

Campaign: Launch of E-Learning-on-Tap

Time Frame: December 1999

Budget: dollars 15,000

HP had been using its own Virtual Classroom technology since early last

year to train employees and hold meetings. It worked well for them, so

why not offer the service to customers?

Virtual Classroom allows businesses to train and meet over the Internet,

without having to buy extra software. Some 1,000 people at one time can

get schooled or catch up on pertinent company information. Distance

learning is being touted by experts as the next Net ’killer app.’


HP decided to launch E-Learning-on-Tap at the E-Business Expo in New

York City in December. Better to show than tell, and the company wanted

to strut its stuff visually and virtually. The solution: virtual

briefings with the media and analysts - a risky proposition if there

were technology snafus. Another challenge: journalists at the show would

miss the virtual experience if they weren’t at their desks.

The campaign had two goals. The first was to show that HP was ready to

enter the market. The second was to link the service with the company’s

overall e-services attack. ’We say in our new advertisements that we are

a company of inventors, and this new technology is but one example,’

says Diane Scott, worldwide media relations manager for HP’s Customer

Services Support Group.


Leaving nothing to chance, HP tested its virtual press conference with

one analyst. That went smoothly, so HP proceeded with the real


To solve the logistical challenge of showing off the technology

virtually to media at the show, the company conducted the virtual press

conference the day before the show officially opened. Additionally, the

Hoffman Agency, which handled the campaign for HP, placed

E-Learning-on-Tap’s director on a Web-based education panel.


USA Today ran a feature on E-Learning-on-Tap in its Tech Report


Industry publications VARBusiness, Informationweek and Computer Reseller

News also gave HP prominence in its write-ups. CBS radio’s coverage of

the show included an interview with an HP executive. Some 30 members of

the press and potential and existing clients attended the reception.

Furthermore, having an HP expert speak at the Web education forum

sparked business leads, says Brian Schwartz, account manager at Hoffman


’It was so easy to run the virtual press conference that we may have

stumbled on a new market - hosting virtual press conferences for other

companies,’ says HP’s Scott.


Instant replay. Scott says HP will do a virtual press

conference/briefing to launch the service in Europe and Asia early this

year. Who knows, you might even see head honcho Carly Fiorina playing


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