IT Guys Can Finally Stop Saying No in These Cartoony Ads for Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Publicis transforms them into yes men

These days, everything computes.

Publicis New York’s playful spots for Hewlett Packard Enterprise tackle the theme of getting to yes in corporate IT, even when techie pros insist on saying no to every conceivable request.

Does this sound like your office? It’s everyone’s office, at one time or another, and HPE believes its expertise can help shake up the status quo and take companies to the next level.

Of course, there will always be naysayers fearful of change. Meet Michael, an IT guy with a robot head and mechanical hands who needs a major attitude reboot:

Seems like your average tech geek, actually, the kind who’d win all the office pools and perform “Knights Who Say Ni” routines in the break room.

Publicis executive creative director Matt McKay breaks down the strategy: “There are people within companies who have to make IT decisions. For many reasons, they often have to say no. We knew we wanted to portray them as characters that are trapped, afflicted with a condition they can’t control. ‘Edward Scissorhands-like’ was a reference we talked about: He’s stuck being who he is, and it’s not by choice. It was also a way to earn sympathy from the viewer. We all know what it’s like not to being able to say yes when you really want to.”

Next, Bobblehead Brian glides through the cubicles on a personalized pedestal of negativity:

Yo, Bobbler, can we take a ride on your rad disk? (And why didn’t they name him Bob? Too obvious?)

“Even though the spots are comedic, we did not want them to look like comedy spots,” says McKay. “We wanted them to be cinematic and real by designing every location and scene to have a sense of scale and sophistication. A real modern business—not the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company.”

Hey, if their current gigs don’t work out, Robo-Michael can always work at Thrivent, and Bobbling-Brian would be a hit at ballparks nationwide.

“The robot was an actual actor who squeezed his head into the robot helmet,” says McKay. “It did not look comfortable, but he was a true pro. The neck and wrists were taken out in post. We felt it was important that it did not look like an actor inside, but instead that something had taken over our hero.”

As for the Bobblehead, “there is no human inside,” he says. “The entire thing is mechanical. It was placed on top of what is essentially a giant Roomba operated by remote control.”

Of course, when you take creative chances, not everything goes according to plan.

“We had a scene that involved the robot using a stall in the men’s room,” says McKay. “It was funnier on paper.”

CREDITS
Client: Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Campaign Title: “No Bob” & “No Bot”
Agency: Publicis New York
Chief Creative Officer: Andy Bird
Executive Creative Director: Matt McKay
Creative Directors: Ward Williams, Carlos Perez
Copywriter: Matt McKay
Chief Production Officer: Lisa Bifulco
Executive Broadcast Producer: Lauren Schneidmuller
Global Client Officer: Scott Herring
Group Account Director: Mila Babrikova
Account Supervisor: Amber Hernandez
Account Executive: Joey Hathaway
Executive Integrated Producer: Anna Ma Fung
Integrated Producer: Jenae Boston
Production Company: Hungry Man
Director: Wayne McClammy
Managing Partner/Executive Producer: Kevin Byrne
Executive Producer/Partner: Mino Jarjoura
Executive Producer: Dan Duffy
Executive Producer: Caleb Dewart
Producer: Dave Bernstein
Production Supervisor: Rochelle Cook
Editorial Company: NO6/NO7
Editor: Jason MacDonald
Executive Producer: Corina Dennison
Producer: Malia Rose
Flame Artist: Ed Skupeen
Audio Record & Mix: Heard City
Sound Design: Jason MacDonald/Heard City
VFX Company for “No Bot”: MPC LA
Executive Producer: Elexis Stearn
Managing Director: Justin Brukman
Producer: Mark Driscoll
Artist/Supervisor: Benji Weinstein
Music Company: JSM
CEO/President/Creative Director: Joel Simon
Executive Producer: Jeff Fiorello