Intel Digs Deep to Source Conflict-Free Minerals for Its Chips

New 'Look Inside' ad follows five-year effort

IDEA: In a keynote speech at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich spoke of the company's commitment, begun five years ago, to source conflict-free minerals for its microprocessors. Today, that effort is far enough along that it gets its own commercial—a two-minute spot as part of the "Look Inside" campaign from Venables Bell & Partners.

Intel has made a number of these long-form Web films since 2012, each focused on a remarkable person (teen scientist Jack Andraka, blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer, philanthropist Mick Ebeling) who found greatness within thanks in part to technology. The new spot celebrates Intel's own drive to look inside itself, where it found a humanitarian purpose.

"Conflict-free is something we're really proud of," said Elizabeth Broers, global director of creative strategy. "This is an opportunity to make consumers aware—and hopefully make the industry aware—and effect even bigger change."

COPYWRITING: The spot is issue-focused, but tells a human story, too—that of Carolyn Duran, who leads the initiative at Intel, stars in the ad and provides the voiceover. VB&P interviewed her, worked up a rough script, "then had her say it in her own words in a way that felt natural," said executive creative director Will McGinness.

"This little microprocessor makes lives everywhere easier, but few people think about how they're made," Duran says at the beginning, holding up a chip. "Gold, tin, tantalum and tungsten. These four minerals are in almost every piece of technology you own. So, it's important to know where they come from."

The spot then tracks the supply chain, in footage played backwards at high speed, to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as Duran relates the "unspeakable horrors" of miners working for warlords there. She then explains Intel's efforts to ethically source the minerals.

"Technology is supposed to solve problems and make lives easier," she says. "We're proud to say the world's first commercially available conflict-free microprocessors do just that."

White text on a blue screen appears: "The smallest things can have the biggest impact. Look Inside." Three paragraphs of text follow, documentary style, recapping Intel's results (including a 55 percent reduction in profits to armed groups in the mining areas).

The text concludes: "We hope you will join us in the pursuit of conflict-free technology." The spot closes with the Intel logo and tagline.

ART DIRECTION/FILMING: The spot mixes new and stock footage from Africa with footage of Duran at her Intel office. Director Paul Freedman, who has made documentaries about Darfur and Rwanda, shot the new video in the DRC.

The technique of reverse footage has been used across the campaign. "We like having a signature aesthetic that binds this stuff together," said McGinness. It's also a useful storytelling device—usually taking the viewer back in time from action to inspiration, though here it's used to travel geographically along the supply chain.

Some motion graphics (done in Intel blue) are overlaid to help make the somewhat complex narrative clearer.

TALENT: Duran was a pro in the recording sessions. "She spoke from the heart, and it was authentic to her and everything she's been doing. It actually came off really naturally," said McGinness.

SOUND: An original track by Elias Arts is more dramatic than that of prior spots. "It's an important project, and we wanted to play up the seriousness of that, to add some drama to it and underscore the gravitas of what's being done," McGinness said. As their own storytelling device, the music and sound design cues also make the narrative more digestible.

MEDIA: The long-form "Look Inside" spots run online, though the campaign does include :30s on TV.




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