HP’s Apollo Seeking Launch Help

Low-Price Hardware Unit Looks Outside Parent’s Agency Roster
SAN FRANCISCO–Hewlett-Packard’s new Apollo Consumer Products subsidiary is looking to hire one or more marketing agencies ahead of the April launch of its first low-cost printers. The San Diego company is operating as a separate unit from its parent and seeking its own marketing partners, said Mohan Garde, Apollo general manager.
The company will focus first on product placement, sponsorships, in-store displays and online ads in the U.S. and Asia, Garde said. Traditional ads are not expected to be part of this year’s mix. The budget is undisclosed.
The company plans to hire its marketing shops in the next few months. None of HP’s main ad agencies–Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, Publicis & Hal Riney and Saatchi & Saatchi, all in San Francisco–is involved in the Apollo launch, said sources. HP, Palo Alto, Calif., spends about $150-190 million on printer and computer advertising worldwide.
Design and corporate identity agency Landor Associates, San Francisco, a unit of Young & Rubicam Inc., has been working with Apollo on its “brand identity system,” including package design, said marketing director Susan Huberman, who joined HP after a stint as a brand manager at packaged goods company Alberto-Culver. Two years ago, Landor worked with Garde on HP’s corporate brand positioning and helped develop its tagline, “Expanding possibilities.”
The Apollo product line–HP’s first separate consumer brand–will be “built on a promise of value and style … in contrast to the Hewlett-Packard brand, which represents performance,” said Garde. The marketing will need to reflect the brand personality of the new subsidiary, which operates out of casual offices above a restaurant in downtown San Diego and has its first Web site (www.myapollo.com) in the works.
Slated to be priced at $100 or less, the Apollo printer will take its cue from Apple’s popular iMac computer, a pioneer in colorful and stylish industrial design. The cobalt blue printer will feature a translucent blue tray with fluorescent blue edges.
“At that price point, we expect it will be an impulse choice for PC buyers attracted by its design and concerned about price,” said Garde.
Both the printer and its packaging include a graphic logo next to the words “Powered by Hewlett-Packard inkjet technology.”