Most people in the world hear Hewlett-Packard and think “printers.” And who can blame them? Since the relatively recent emphasis on the “HP” instead of “Hewlett-Packard,” and the general consumer move away from printers, HP hasn’t really done anything noteworthy — well, other than thrive despite the decline of the business in which they made their fortune. It’s like the old joke about the bricklayer and the sheep — but instead of drowning their sorrows in gin, HP is drowning them in money in an effort to rebrand the company. To that end, they’ve created a series of ads with the questionable tagline “Let’s Do Amazing.”
It’s not much of a time investment: a few 30-second spots with Flight of the Conchords‘ Rhys Darby bumbling around some professionals who appreciate what HP does. Won’t you join me for a look?
It reminds one not of the consumer-oriented (and also HP-centric) Laptop Hunters ads from Microsoft, but of more generalized stuff like ads from GE and HTC. Healthymagination, another linguistically questionable series, strives to show how GE is everywhere, working with everyone. HTC modestly states they are “Quietly brilliant,” which suggests that you just don’t know how awesome HTC is because they haven’t told you. “Let’s Do Amazing” suggests that marketing couldn’t think of anything specific that only HP does.
The tagline thing is, I think, a misguided trend, since the taglines never last more than a single ad campaign and the most important part, the product and the company that makes it, are often deliberately sidelined so the “concept” can show through. Remember the Seinfeld/Gates ads? All anyone remembers is Gates wiggling his bum. Apple’s Mac/PC ads, while conceptual, at least focus on features, however misrepresented. The take-away is easy. What is the take-away from these HP ads? “All these people use HP for stuff I never see or use.” Does HP want to place themselves in the meta-technology sector, like IBM? Then why advertise with a popular actor and people like Dr. Dre?
HP used to make crappy PCs and tons of printers. Now they make decent PCs, tablets and touchscreens, and are doing seriously good things with AMD in the mid-range/ultraportable sector — but we don’t really see that, or anything really, in these ads. They grab your attention but fail to advance their case in any way with the viewer. Still, it’s nice to see HP pushing back; we can probably expect a few more like these, and maybe even catch a glimpse of something somebody might be able to buy.
Update: Eh, maybe I’m crazy about the name. I thought everyone called them “Hewlett-Packard” until like 2000. Maybe not.