Intel Hires Homer To Push Pentium

Euro RSCG DSW’s Animated Spot to Break During X-Files Opener
LOS ANGELES–Intel Corp. has inked a deal with 20th Century Fox to use hapless Homer Simpson as the centerpiece of an upcoming TV campaign for the Pentium II processor.
Created by Euro RSCG DSW Partners, Salt Lake City, the animated “Homer’s Smarter Brain” spot will show Homer getting his infamously inferior brain replaced with a Pentium, turning him into a college professor. Intel’s well-known “Bunny People” will play key roles in Homer’s upgrade.
The 30-second commercial is set to break this month on the season premiere of The X-Files. The spot will air through December on Fox and several cable networks during prime time, late night and sports programs.
The broadcast schedule has not yet been finalized, as some networks continue to clamp down on ads that even indirectly promote competitors’ shows.
“We had been exploring nontraditional categories for The Simpsons,” said Katie Chin, senior vice president, promotions at Fox Licensing & Merchandising. Chin and Sabrina Ironside, executive director, worldwide television promotions at Fox, put together the Intel agreement. “We think this deal speaks to the multigenerational appeal of the property.”
Intel, which recently latched onto baseball’s renewed popularity in ads touting the speed of its Pentium II, wants to tell consumers in easy-to-understand terms the benefits of using their product.
“We wanted to try to educate our consumer audience about what role the processor plays in their PC and the value of it,” said Joanne O’Brien, manager of consumer advertising at Intel. “We make PCs smarter.”
Still under consideration are print ads and point-of-purchase materials featuring Homer Simpson. Internet banner ads are planned, as are in-store demonstrations in the form of a loop program on Pentium II PCs likely incorporating elements of a Simpsons CD-ROM game. Intel is working with Fox on an array of licensed goods, including mugs, T-shirts and caps.
The stars of The Simpsons have been used as spokescharacters since 1989 for Nestlƒ’s Butterfinger candy, as well as in adult-targeted efforts for Ramada Inn, MCI, TGI Friday’s and MilkPEP.
Intel recently consolidated its consumer advertising account at Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG in New York [Adweek, Oct. 26].
–with Tobi Elkin