Aug 09

Getting inspired by … Intel?

Intel goes creative with the Rock Star

Who sprinkled the creative fairy dust on Intel?

To be honest, I’d long given up hope that we’d ever speak the words Intel and creative in the same sentence. Intel has a track record of spending serious money on some of the world’s most dubious creative work, which is then processed and tested beyond imagination. After the embarrassing “lap dancing” campaign, the we-can-be-cool-too “multiplicity” campaign and processors singing hi-ho as they leave the factory — I wouldn’t have bet on Intel to be the scene of any creative renaissance. However, I think we have a moral duty to praise those who deserve praising, no matter how grievous their past offenses. There’s a lot to praise in Intel’s current Sponsors of Tomorrow effort. The Rock Star video (see it here) is a great idea that could easily have been made silly in production (and would have been, under a previous regime), but was obviously shepherded by some super-talented people. The concept of Sponsors has the wit and intelligence that a global power deserves. The campaign is much bigger than this video, including another great spot called Oops and an assortment of pieces for print and web. It’s all really well thought out and executed.

Intel’s new work launched back in May, which makes this review a bit tardy. But this blog is only three days old, so you have to be nice to me. The creative is the work of Venables Bell & Partners in SF, and they should be terrifically proud. I know many who have attempted to slay the Intel beast, rarely with more than limited success. Heck, I was one of them. Additional kudos go to those inside Intel who were able to push this work through, as their organization has never been structured to give great creative work more than lip service. One telling sign that something amazing is happening here is what they have done with the famous Intel “Bong” at the end of the Rock Star and Oops spots. From experience, I can tell you that this element is beyond untouchable. Even unspoken thoughts to modify it have in the past been punishable by death. Yet Venables has succeeded in presenting the Bong sung by a chorus of Intel humans on-screen. It feels like we’re witnessing the birth of a whole new Intel. It’s fantastic. There is more stuff on the Intel site beyond the video, and most is nicely written. Of course the website is a bit spotty — the business side remains dreary, some of the messaging is still rooted in the Intel of old, and the Intel product badges remain as mortifying as ever.

Zooming up to the highest level, it’s important to appreciate what work like this does for a company like Intel. For the first time in eons, people will not only understand what Intel does, they will simply think: “I like these guys.” That’s how you build an emotional bond with your customers. And that’s something Intel hasn’t done in ages.

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  • Right on, Ken. The emotional ‘bong’ creates an emotional bond. Josh and I are strong believers in Audio Branding because the sound of music reaches our souls faster than any other media. See: http://ic3.squarespace.com/journal/2006/5/6/audio-branding.html

  • Bryan Birch

    I’m always a little jealous when someone is able to sell nice work to clients I’ve had little luck with. I tell myself I softened them up with the body shots that enabled the knockout. New problems, opportunities and people at Intel, along with the new agency. Hopefully this is just the beginning.
    I really admired your “unwired” work as well. I’m also impressed with your blog and your ability to do this as well as a full time job. Kudos.

  • ken segall

    Hey there Bryan, how’s it going? I think every creative director secretly fears what will happen when others pick up the account he or she had been handling. Being insecure is one of our many endearing qualities.

  • Marty Suzs

    Hey Ken,

    Nice looking blog.

    This is the best Intel advertising since the Blue Men Group for Pentium III. Must be a whole new set of clients out in Santa Clara. Can’t say I miss it…but I do miss your and Sonnenfeld’s funny emails. Time for a reunion.

    Be well,


  • ken segall

    From what I read, I think our old friend Deborah Conrad has something to do with this. Clearly some major structural changes have been made. I guess it proves that there’s always hope — except for the White Sox.

  • for the aficionados of ‘bong’:

    First international Audio Branding Congress

    The Audio Branding Academy starts its activities by organizing the first international expert congress for acoustic brand communication in the famous old warehouse district (Speicherstadt) of Hamburg. More Informations: http://audio-branding-congress.com

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