Back off, tablets: PC companies plan a $70M ad campaign

October 15, 2015 byMichael Liedtke

So many people have gone so long without buying a new personal computer that the industry's biggest players are trying something different: a quirky advertising campaign. The $70 million marketing push aims to highlight how much better PCs have gotten since smartphones and tablets came along.

Rival PC makers Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Lenovo are joining forces with Microsoft and Intel to revive languishing PC sales with ads that don't promote specific brands. They'll be punctuated with the slogan, "PC does what?"

It's a concept similar to earlier campaigns by beef and dairy producers that sought to extol the virtues of their products.

The PC campaign will tout the increased versatility of laptops that have slimmed down while adding more powerful chips, longer-lasting batteries and higher resolution screens that also respond to touch commands. Many of the screens also detach from keyboards so they can function as tablets, too. Most new PCs are now powered by Windows 10, which Microsoft bills as its best operating system yet.

"With this perfect storm of innovation, we felt it was the time to tell our story," said Steve Fund, Intel's chief marketing officer. "People think having something good is good enough because they are unaware of how much better the PCs are now."

The campaign, scheduled to begin Monday in the U.S. and China, will include TV commercials on major networks and online ads. The participating companies will split the $70 million cost of the campaign, which will run through November in an effort to entice holiday shoppers.

The ads are primarily targeting consumers who haven't bought a new PC in at least four years—a potential audience of about 400 million people, estimated technology industry analyst Patrick Moorhead.

The PC push comes amid a 3 1/2-year decline in sales that has been driven by a shift to smartphones and tablets able to handle many of the tasks that previously required desktop and laptop computers.

Even the late July release of Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system couldn't reverse the slide. Worldwide shipments of PCs fell by 8 percent from the previous year during the three-month period ending in September, according to the research group Gartner. Lenovo, HP and Dell were the top three PC makers in the quarter.

But the pendulum may be poised to swing in the other direction.

About half the consumers polled in Gartner's personal technology survey said they plan to buy a new PC during the next year, compared to just 21 percent who said they have a tablet on their shopping list.

In an effort to reverse a recent decline in iPad sales, Apple introduced a larger version of its trendsetting tablet that's designed to behave much like a laptop. The iPad Pro will sell for $800 and an accompanying keyboard will cost an additional $169.

Consumers who have owned the same PC for several years can now buy a vastly improved model for $500 to $700, Moorhead said, making it more likely the marketing campaign will win converts.

"I think the PC might have its best hand in the past five to seven years," Moorhead said.

Explore further: Computer shipments sink under weight of strong dollar

More information: pcdoeswhat.com

Related Stories

PC sales declined—again—in first quarter

April 9, 2015

Weak demand for desktop computers caused PC sales to plunge again in the first quarter of this year, reflecting the industry's ongoing struggles with the shift to smartphones, tablets and other mobile gadgets.

PC sales got no boost from Windows 8

November 29, 2012

Sales of personal computers in the U.S. didn't get any boost from the launch of Windows 8, confounding the hopes of Microsoft and PC makers, research firm NPD Group said Thursday.

Analysts, PC industry cool on Windows 8

October 17, 2012

While Microsoft is touting next week's launch of Windows 8 as the savior of the computer industry, PC makers and analysts are increasingly skeptical that the new operating system will lure consumers away from tablets and ...

Recommended for you

Asteroids, hydrogen make great recipe for life on Mars

March 26, 2019

A new study reveals asteroid impacts on ancient Mars could have produced key ingredients for life if the Martian atmosphere was rich in hydrogen. An early hydrogen-rich atmosphere on Mars could also explain how the planet ...

Cool Earth theory sheds more light on diamonds

March 26, 2019

A QUT geologist has published a new theory on the thermal evolution of Earth billions of years ago that explains why diamonds have formed as precious gemstones rather than just lumps of common graphite.

New cellulose-based material represents three sensors in one

March 26, 2019

Cellulose soaked in a carefully designed polymer mixture acts as a sensor to measure pressure, temperature and humidity at the same time. The measurements are completely independent of each other. The ability to measure pressure, ...

Physicists discover new class of pentaquarks

March 26, 2019

Tomasz Skwarnicki, professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University, has uncovered new information about a class of particles called pentaquarks. His findings could lead to a new understanding ...

Study finds people who feed birds impact conservation

March 26, 2019

People in many parts of the world feed birds in their backyards, often due to a desire to help wildlife or to connect with nature. In the United States alone, over 57 million households in the feed backyard birds, spending ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.