The Genesis of Hewlett-Packard’s Global Campaign

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. Developing a global image campaign for Hewlett-Packard after its merger with Compaq required coming up with a solid branding idea right from the beginning, said Steve Simpson, creative director at Omnicom Group’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, during a talk at the 2005 Clio Awards today.

Creatives at the San Francisco shop first came up with a brand identity in 2001 by creating what Simpson jokingly called a “really dopey scrapbook” that contained the history of the brand’s typeface, Futura, as well as visual images to spark inspiration. A key component was a compendium of jazz label Blue Note’s album covers, which all looked different but had key stylistic similarities.

“It was a way to explore the look, feel and atmosphere of a brand,” Simpson said.

From there, the team came up with a logo featuring the plus sign, and the campaign, originally tagged, “Everything is possible,” quickly became the “+ HP” campaign.

Next, the team created co-branded business-to-business print and TV ads with clients including NASA, FedEx, Amazon and The National Gallery, among others, which all looked different but were held together with a unified design and branding language.

They took a similar tack with the consumer campaign, “You + HP,” centered around digital photography, as they began to establish HP as a recognizable brand.

“Just because HP sells millions of computers to consumers doesn’t make [it] a consumer brand,” Simpson said. They aimed to change that perception with the resulting campaign. The work, from first-time commercial director Francois Vogel, featured catchy pop tunes from the Cure and the Kinks and showed a world of still photographs coming to life.

The campaign continues, and Simpson said he hopes the idea of integration comes through all over the world not just in terms of “typeface and logo similarity, but hopefully one of spirit and understanding the brand, creating one coherent and forceful identity.”

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