Intel ad blitz will focus on overall brand, computer firm says

If you don’t know that Intel Corp. pioneered the microprocessor, invented the USB standard and helped build Silicon Valley into the thriving tech powerhouse it is today, you probably will soon.

The chip-making giant is about to launch “Sponsors of Tomorrow,” a massive advertising campaign in more than two dozen countries that seeks to make people more familiar with the Intel brand. Intel says the campaign, which will appear on TV, billboards, the Web and in print beginning Monday, will be the first to focus on its overall brand rather than specific processors or products.

“We want people, when they decide they need a new laptop, to make sure they’re going to look at Intel inside,” said Nancy Bhagat, director of integrated marketing at Intel. She said the Santa Clara, Calif., company hopes consumers will be as insistent about Intel products in their electronics as people once were about NutraSweet in their diet drinks.

Bhagat said that although Intel was an “ingredient brand,” meaning it doesn’t sell its products directly to consumers, the company felt that it was still important to tout its role in the history of innovation. About 85% of PCs sold today have Intel products inside, dwarfing the number of those with chips from smaller rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc.


In one Intel spot called “Rock Stars,” two actors play engineers who invented the first microprocessor. When they walk across the company cafeteria, everyone gapes at them as if they are big celebrities. In another called “Clean Room,” a girl’s neat bedroom is compared with the areas in which Intel makes and assembles computer circuits; these so-called clean rooms are said to be 10,000 times more sterile than a hospital operating room.

Despite the global economic woes, Intel plans to boost its advertising spending with this campaign, Bhagat said.

“Investing in a recession gives us an opportunity to be more visible and drive a stronger share of mind,” she said.