Jim Parsons Gets to Be His Lovable, Geeky Self for Intel in His First Big Endorsement

Mcgarrybowen considered more than 60 celebs

Earlier this fall, Intel marketing execs were visiting their new agency, mcgarrybowen, when they noticed a copy of Adweek featuring The Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons on the cover. That chance encounter planted the creative seeds for the agency's first campaign for the semiconductor manufacturer, which breaks Monday.

The fourth-quarter push focuses on Intel's new technologies and products, emphasizing the company's new 3D camera technology, RealSense. 

Intel invited mcgarrybowen's creative teams to its corporate headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif., to see the new technology, which is easier to understand in person than explained from afar. There was the creative challenge: how to communicate a technology consumers need to see to believe. The agency decided to tap a high-profile celeb to bring the technology to life in an approachable, easily understood way.

Mcgarrybowen looked at more than 60 celebrities before selecting Parsons, whose quirky, smart persona dovetailed with Intel's positioning. Aside from bringing his huge popularity with millennials as the uber-nerd Sheldon Cooper on Big Bang, Parsons brought fresh endorsement value: This is his first alignment with a major brand.

"Jim's enthusiasm was so genuine and real," said Marianne Besch, executive creative director, mcgarrybowen. "When he actually saw the technology he became the embodiment of it."

In the mcgarrybowen spot, Parsons gains entry into a restricted Intel access area where he samples the new technology, only to be escorted out by a guard who warns him not to tell anyone about it. Just as you'd expect from Sheldon Cooper, Parsons starts blabbing to the first person he meets.

The campaign is also the first under new Intel chief marketing officer Steve Fund, formerly of retailer Staples, and who worked with mcgarrybowen previously. The effort centers around five TV ads that will run through Dec. 28, but they will have broader reach through YouTube with five videos that include outakes from the Parsons' shoot.

"This is the beginning of repositioning the brand," explained Teresa Herd, vp, director of creative development and production, Intel. "Before it was largely about Intel-inspired devices. While our chips are extremely important, we want people to knowthat we are innovating in so many new areas."

Additional digital work includes 35 pieces of social content that were created for platforms like Vine, Twitter and Facebook. Spending behind the campaign was not revealed. Last year, Intel spent more than $85 million in media, according to Kantar Media.

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