In my mind, HP’s latest spots mark a quiet but meaningful turnaround in the saga of the 30 second spot. Here’s why. HP launches a new campaign—”The Computer Is Personal Again”, which on the surface seems typical. But take a closer look and there’s more to it than meets the eye. To start—the spots were launched online before going to television and they seem to be tailored to the “plugged in demographic” stressing the influence of the Social Media Network. From HP’s site:
“The next round of "The Computer is Personal Again" campaign - three commercials starring Mark Burnett, Mark Cuban and Pharrell Williams - will premiere online before appearing on television.
Previously released commercials featuring cultural icon Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter and U.S. Olympic snowboarding gold medalist Shaun White generated overwhelmingly positive online chatter throughout the web and blogosphere.
"We are seeing great interest in the number of blog links and online buzz created by the first two ad spots," said David Roman, vice president of marketing communications, Personal Systems Group, HP. "Online video sites and their prominence in the blog community are today's 'word-of-mouth,' providing a very personal avenue to help HP reach an audience that doesn't necessarily respond to traditional media, but who will watch an ad online if it's been recommended by a well-liked blogger or a friend."
That last part about a “well liked blogger or a friend” is really critical. What the Ad world is experiencing is a shift in where viewers are going, and in the online space—it’s all about word of mouth. We’ll go find something if someone we know has said good things about it. And as the case is with You Tube—sometimes we don’t need to go very far (like how I’m featuring one of the Ads here).
But, here’s where I see signs of new life. First of all—I want to watch these ads. They are mesmerizing—hard to take your eyes off. And the idea is solid—to get people talking about technology in a non-technology way. OK, fine—Apple did it first. So what? These spots are distinct enough to live on their own. And here is another key move to this new 30 second formula. The inclusions of relevant influencers like "Jay-Z" and Mark Cuban. Cuban is a brilliant choice. He spans multiple worlds—influencing both sports fans and bloggers. The way the ads use these individuals is key. It’s not the old school endorsement. In fact, the individuals in the spots never mention HP.
And of course you can create your own spot, complete with your photos etc. Check out what fellow blogger Eric Kintz created. Eric, I have to say—your spot is both cool and freaky. I didn’t expect to see you with an 80’s hair band doo. I’m still recovering.
So what do you think? Is this type of campaign the new 30 second spot? Is the formula something like better creative + online integration + You Tube + Co-creation? Will it all equal the re-birth of the 30 second spot? And what does this mean for all of the ho-hum marketing that is still served up en masse through our “Moo Tubes”?
Is that cash cow enjoying it’s final days? And how long till it goes out to pasture?
Oh yeah. last thought. The ever crafty Goodby, Silverstein & Partners are behind this latest effort. Good stuff, but I'm still waiting for the GSPB (Goodby Silverstein & Partners Blog).