HP Breaks Video Ads Online

Computer giant Hewlett-Packard Wednesday launched new video ads online as part of the company's continuing branding campaign for its personal computers.

The 30- and 60-second ads, featuring reality TV producer Mark Burnett and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, are available on a variety of video sites, including YouTube, iFilm, and Google, as well as HP's own microsite for the campaign. A third clip starring producer and singer Pharrell Williams will debut online shortly.

All three ads will break later this year on national and cable TV, with the Mark Burnett spot slated to appear on his new show "Gold Rush."

The video clips represent the latest phase of the online portion of HP's current branding initiative, which carries the slogan "The Computer Is Personal Again," and aims to promote computers as expressions of users' individuality.

Other components of the online campaign include a Facebook "profile" for the HP notebook and an online personal ad on MySpace, among other initiatives, said Tracey Trachta, director worldwide consumer advertising at HP.



The Web ads reflect HP's attempt to experiment with unusual online ad units, Trachta said. "We could put out 200 banner ads or five things that are cool and make a difference," she said, adding that the Web campaign is designed to build buzz about the ads before they appear on TV. "Online is incredibly powerful in terms of word-of-mouth and is a really effective engine for distributing and engaging with our target audience."

In the spots, the stars' images are truncated at the neck so that their faces aren't on screen. Users who click through are taken to a microsite which has more in-depth information (an image of one of the star's desktops, for instance) as well as outtakes and other extras.

The new clips mark an extension of a campaign that launched on TV this May. The ads that broke this spring starred snowboarder Shaun White and hip-hop artist Jay-Z. Those clips also are available online on YouTube and other sites.

Goodby, Silverstein & Partners created the units and designed the microsite, which was built by Agency.com. ZenithOptimedia handled media buying duties.

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