HP Employs Cinema Experience to Push Printer

To market the world’s first Web-enabled printer, HP needed the right touch to introduce today’s computer- savvy family to a revolutionary new class of peripherals. At the center of a multiplatform campaign is a breakthrough cinema execution that combines big-screen impact with in-lobby engagement for the largest use of cinema to date for a single brand.

The HP Photosmart Premium with TouchSmart Web has a small touch screen that allows users to print directly from the printer via simple applications from HP’s content partners including Fandango, coupons.com, Google Maps, Snapfish, USA Today and DreamWorks. Introduced to retailers in September, HP’s new printer came to market much like any other new product, accompanied by a media campaign that built awareness via national cable ads and a Web site that provided more detail. A new TV spot launching Nov. 30 will run into first quarter.

While TV and the Web may be enough for most products and brands, it wasn’t enough for what HP sees as a category-changing product that consumers may not even know they want. “The one thing we knew was touching was believing,” said Tariq Hassan, vp of marketing for HP. “We had to create more than awareness; we had to touch the consumer. The theater was a natural fit.”

Backed by an estimated seven-figure budget, the cinema campaign employs 10 different elements. HP has used cinema before, but its past efforts are dwarfed by the “Touch the Web. Print the Web” cinema campaign that broke in November and runs through Dec. 24. It includes a 30-second spot and HP-themed interstitials running throughout National CineMedia’s pre-feature program on more than 17,300 theater screens, as well as on Screenvision’s theater network. The spot is also running on NCM’s Lobby Entertainment Network of 2,600 plasma screens.

Further, HP employed an interactive “lobby domination” strategy in 15 theaters in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, Miami and Houston to bring the printer store to the consumer. All manner of signage, from banners and standees to holographic 3-D kiosks, turned the theater lobby into an HP-branded event with large-manned booths for live demonstrations, complete with a $50  coupon for the $399 printer. HP even used the theaters during off-hours to train retail partners including Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Staples and Office Depot.

“There is nothing about this campaign that is cookie-cutter,” said Cliff Marks, president of sales and marketing for NCM, which worked with HP and Omnicom Media Group over
several months. “We think this is the future of cinema” advertising, he said.

OMG and Goodby Silverstein & Partners report that the cinema campaign is on track to deliver 50,000 product demos averaging six minutes in length and 700,000 impressions in the lobby. “The demo aspect was critical to get the printers in front of consumers. There are only so many events you can do in-store,” said Garrett Self, group director for OMG Chicago.