HP boosts brand by showing 'spooky' side of IT problems

IT problems can be a nightmare for tech pros, but they can be hard to understand for many people.

IT problems can be a nightmare for tech pros, but they can be hard to understand for many people. HP wanted to raise awareness of these problems and solutions via a push that could highlight the issues in a humorous way. Working with Cohn & Wolfe last fall, the company created a digital effort illustrating common IT problems as monsters to build awareness for the HP Technology Services Group.

“It was about illuminating... problems in a different way,” says Tony Obregon, VP of digital media at C&W.

Strategy

The highlight of the digital campaign was the creation of a team of monsters, each corresponding to a common IT problem that HP fixes. For example, the effort's “spooky cast” included Dracula, the Data Center Energy-Sucking Vampire; The Blob, The Virtualized Data Center Gone Wrong; and skeletons representing legacy servers and storage hardware.

“The main strategy... was to build some fun, creative ways to communicate... and to get people talking in the digital media about our thinking here,” says Flynn Maloy, director of marketing for tech services at HP.

Tactics

The effort focused on digital avenues to reach the media. The team created a Web site for the campaign and a slideshow on Photobucket, and uploaded six videos to a HP Monsters YouTube channel. The team also created a fan page on Facebook, and posted items to a CafePress.com page where monster garb could be purchased.

Using traditional tactics, the team also reached out to The Wall Street Journal to secure placement in a technology blog just days before Halloween.

Results

Within a week of launching, the YouTube channel received more than 6,000 video views and nearly 3,000 channel views, while 48 Facebook members signed up as fans of the campaign. Thirteen people Tweeted about the effort, and 468 people viewed its site.

Future

HP no longer works with C&W.

PR Team: HP (Sacramento, CA) and Cohn & Wolfe (San Francisco)

Campaign: What Haunts Your Data Center?

Duration: October-November 2008

Budget: $25,000

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