HP Does Mediocre

March 12th, 2010 by admin Leave a reply »

HP is about to launch a new $40 million ad campaign designed to tell the world that it’s more than just the world’s largest manufacturer of printers. This post might set a record for my most premature rant ever, but based on the only ad I’ve seen so far–which takes place in the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas–I’m not rushing out to buy HP stock.

For one thing, I don’t care for their tagline, “Let’s do amazing.” I’m never crazy about copy that uses poor grammar, but I could forgive that if the words were clever, and especially if they were a natural fit with the brand name. But they’re not. Any number of brands in any number of product categories could lay claim to that tagline just as easily as HP can. Moreover, I can’t imagine anyone ever trying to inspire their co-workers by saying, “Let’s do amazing!”. “Just do it!”, yes, but “Let’s do amazing!”, no.

I’m also not a fan of advertising that relies on celebrities, and this campaign will be swimming in them. I am a fan of the actor Rhys Darby (from HBO’s “Flight of the Conchords”), who’s featured in all of the ads, but apparently most of the ads will also feature additional celebrities like Annie Liebowitz and Dr. Dre. If you’re trying to make HP the star of the campaign, why detract attention from its glow by forcing it to compete with real stars? If HP were a new or unknown brand desperate for credibility, then maybe relying on celebrities would be a wise investment, but I don’t see it making sense in this case.

Finally, the Venetian ad mentions the HP name twice, and shows the logo only once–during the last 3 seconds of the spot. Considering that HP isn’t exactly the most distinctive brand name in the world, the odds of this ad making any meaningful impact seem pretty remote.

Perhaps the campaign will grow on me once I’ve seen more ads. After all, it took me a few times weeks before I realized what a great TV show “Cougartown” is. At this point, however, about the only thing I find amazing about HP’s new campaign is the fact that HP management agreed to spend $40 million on it.

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