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Intel launches 'Sponsors of Tomorrow' ad campaign

May 5, 2009 |  1:30 pm

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Intel's new ad campaign seeks to make consumers more familiar with the brand. Credit: Intel.

You may not know it, but Intel pioneered the microprocessor, invented the USB standard and helped build Silicon Valley into the thriving tech powerhouse it is today.

You'll likely know all that and more soon enough: Intel is about to launch "Sponsors of Tomorrow," a massive advertising campaign in more than two dozen countries that seeks to make people more familiar with the chip maker's brand.

"We want people, when they decide they need a new laptop, to make sure they're going to look at Intel inside," said Nancy Bhagat, director of integrated marketing at Intel. She said the Santa Clara, Calif., company hopes consumers will be as insistent about Intel products in their electronics as people once were about NutraSweet in their diet drinks.

Intel says the campaign is its first to focus on its overall brand rather than specific processors or products. The ads will appear on TV, billboards, the Web and ...

... in print beginning Monday. One component will allow consumers to send text messages that will appear on a digital billboard in New York's Times Square and other locations throughout the world.

Bhagat said that while Intel was an "ingredient brand," meaning it doesn't sell its products directly to consumers, the company felt that it was still important to tout its role in the history of innovation. About 85% of PCs sold today have Intel products inside, dwarfing the number of those with chips from smaller rival Advanced Micro Devices.

In one Intel spot, called "Rock Stars," two actors play engineers who invented the first microprocessor. When they walk across the company cafeteria, everyone gapes at them as if they are big celebrities. In another, titled "Oops," employees and reporters struggle to find a tiny chip on the floor, joking about the fact that Intel's big ideas are often very small in size. And in a third, "Clean Room," a girl bragging about her neat room has nothing on Intel's so-called clean rooms, the areas in which computer circuits are made and assembled; they're 10,000 times cleaner than a hospital operating room.

Despite the global economic woes, Intel plans to boost its advertising spending with this campaign, Bhagat said. "Investing in a recession gives us an opportunity to be more visible and drive a stronger share of mind," she said.

The campaign was created by Venables Bell & Partners, of San Francisco, which is a new agency for Intel.

-- Alana Semuels

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