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Spoof ads are Intel's biggest marketing push to date

Intel Corp. (INTC) in the 1990s and early 2000s was known for its iconic print ads of clean-room workers in colorful suits. The company, now looking to find a new way to convince users to upgrade their computers and in the process feed Intel's prcessor sales machine, is launching a massive new campaign, which spoofs the spaghetti western genre and promotes how much faster its new ultrabooks are compared to "old fashioned" laptops.

Intel's campaign will reportedly carry a sticker of "hundreds of millions of dollars" -- the biggest campaign at Intel in 10 years -- and is dubbed "A New Era of Computing".  

It will start with YouTube and television ads, and be filled in with print ads.  Then in April an interactive website will launch to enhance the experience.  The ad campaign is being managed by San Francisco ad shop Venables Bell & Partners.

The world's largest chipmaker (revenue) insists that 2012 is "the year of the ultrabook".  While the ultralight form factor isn't exactly new-hat, having been most notably championed by early adopter Apple, Inc. (AAPL) (whose MacBook Air contained Intel chips). Intel feels the time is right for sub-18 mm thick, battery-sipping, fast laptops.

Early reviews of devices from Acer Inc. (TPE:2353), Lenovo Group, Ltd. (HKG:0992), Hewlett-Packard Comp. (HPQ), and Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930) (among others) have been mixed.  The devices face a tough job meeting conflict objectives, such as thin form factor but long battery life; processing power, but cool operation.

It would be easy to chalk Intel's big marketing effort up to mere optimism, but it's likely also a bit of pragmatism.  Intel is facing its first real challenge in years as ARM chipmakers invade its home court -- the personal computer -- later this year.

Sources: Intel [YouTube], [press release]

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By hughlle on 4/5/2012 3:52:10 PM , Rating: 2
A tablet is a completely different animal.

If i was after a laptop i'd buy a laptop, and if i wree after a tablet i'd buy a tablet. You can' compare the two, they have totally different uses, although i guess as you say, a teen has no requirement of ease of use, just cool, but the world is made up of a lot more people than teenagers needing to keep with the trend.

The only time i'd consider picking up a tablet if i had originally been in the market for some form of laptop would be if i walked past something such as the asus transformer pad due to the fact that it has a keyboard. Some people need a portable computer for more than twitter and facebook.

RE: The majority of consumers, um, consume content...
By B3an on 4/6/2012 6:26:56 AM , Rating: 2
Dont know why your comment got rated down, it's spot on. The Lenovo Yoga looks very good.

With Win 8 we'll have the best of both worlds though, not just the Yoga, they'll be lots of laptops/tablets like the Transformer, running a full blown OS. And Intel will finally have a SoC that will compete somewhat with ARM and fit in tablets just as small as ARM alternatives.

I dont want a tablet and laptop, which is the case for nearly everyone at the moment. I want one device that does it all and Win 8 tablets + keyboard docks will be that.

By WalksTheWalk on 4/6/2012 9:24:53 AM , Rating: 2
To me ASUS really has right idea by combining a high powered phone with either a tablet or laptop dock. Imagine only carrying your phone with all of your data and just docking it into a tablet, laptop or deskop dock. Both the tablet and laptop configurations will give you much more battery life and the desktop dock could potentially support multiple monitors and give you a full desktop experience.

The Padphone as it exists today isn't the greatest implementation but it's a great start. Ubuntu and ASUS are really the only players with this vision right now but the rest will come around eventually. Phone hardware is fast enough to do this today, it's the software that needs to catch up.

Imagine if Microsoft made a Windows 8 phone with the full Windows 8 OS (not the Windows Phone OS) and you and you had this kind of configuration. It would be HUGE!!

By hughlle on 4/6/2012 4:52:33 AM , Rating: 2
then why are you talking about tablets?

By RLJ05 on 4/10/2012 7:48:59 PM , Rating: 2
or making pointless comments on daily tech..

By retrospooty on 4/5/2012 4:29:48 PM , Rating: 2
"Ask any teen if they would want an ultrabook or an ipad3."

Teen's dont have alot of $$$. You know who has $$$ ? Adults that work. Working Adults need full laptops to connect with the business systems at work.

By retrospooty on 4/6/2012 9:01:16 AM , Rating: 2
Citrix or Terminal server sessions are doable on a tablet, but that doesn't help the majority of business users. They need an x86 machine to run their x86 enterprise apps. That isnt going to change anytime soon.

By dark matter on 4/5/2012 7:25:55 PM , Rating: 2
And a tablet with a hardware keyboard would be better suited to a remote desktop.

Think "thin clients".

Want to try harder with that argument.

Or argue with Citrix on the iPad?

RE: The majority of consumers, um, consume content...
By Kyuu on 4/6/2012 1:11:22 AM , Rating: 2
Citrix on the iPad is absolute shit. I know, I had to use it.

By retrospooty on 4/6/2012 9:04:07 AM , Rating: 1
"Citrix on the iPad is absolute shit. I know, I had to use it."

Exactly. I have done virtually the same thing with remote dt into Term servers at work. Its good in an emergency sense - as in "I am out of the office and something happened on a server and need to log in and fix it right away". But to do actual day to day work, I would rather poke my eyes out.

By someguy123 on 4/5/2012 4:47:00 PM , Rating: 2
This is clearly being pushed at college kids, where the desire is there (though still skewed towards apple). Even if they wanted an Ipad, it would be a hard sell to their parents. People still regard laptops/ultraslims/netbooks whatever you want to call it as work related, whereas tablets are seen as entertainment platforms or for social websites.

Intel just needs to do what samsung does with their android phones: show people that it's still sleek but ultimately better value (in parts or otherwise).

By dark matter on 4/5/2012 7:29:12 PM , Rating: 2
It would be an easier sell if those tablets are cheaper than an ultrabook.

Especially if they could get there coursework books on it. Arrange meetings on it. They could do all their coursework in their dorm, rather than in the park. lol. And for that they don't need anything ultramobile. A cheap laptop and a tablet is probably less than an intel ultrabook.

Some of them go for more than Macbook air... Lol..

By someguy123 on 4/5/2012 7:51:06 PM , Rating: 2
It's going to be cheaper, but the point is perception and a bit of reality, considering workplace software still comes under microsoft. They're increasing compatibility but right now the only thing you can get are low feature ports.

Your kid asks you for an ipad and you're going to conjure up angry birds, facebook, netflix etc. He asks you for a desktop or a laptop and you'd be less hesitant. With an ultraslim the kid gets his shiny status icon that's somewhat practical. Campuses are still pretty much filled with apple laptops/macbook airs, and I think that's what they're really competing with rather than tablets.

By dark matter on 4/6/2012 4:32:01 AM , Rating: 1
My point being, that given a choice between a Dell ultrabook, a Tablet or a MacBook Air.

What do you think is going to sell?

If the Dell Ultrabook is priced the same as the MacBook Air?


Does anyone even know that about the term "ULTRABOOK"??

I mean, fucking seriously, judging by the comments, obviously not.

By Visual on 4/6/2012 8:38:33 AM , Rating: 2
Given that choice, I'd still buy a tablet-convertible laptop. With dedicated GPU. Like the tm2 or more recently the t901. Though right now I would probably chose to wait out for a ivy bridge update and even newer GPU.

By ilt24 on 4/6/2012 8:47:55 AM , Rating: 2

Not all all, it doesn't make a difference to Intel if someone buys a Macbook Air or an Ultrabook, they both result in Intel selling a CPU and Chipset. While Apple has grown it's desktop and laptop market share since moving to x86 processors, it just a few % and still for the most part it's only people who want to use OSx who buy Macs.

With Ultrabooks, Intel is trying to give people a reason to upgrade from their existing laptop, by pushing the thin/light form as well features such as touchscreen, getting closer to instant on, SSD's, better battery life...

This is the same strategy they used with centrino, where they tried to convince people they needed wi-fi. They also did this back when OEM's started to include USB, they created a bunch of USB devices, cameras, mp3 players, wireless keyboards and toys as a way to make people think they needed to upgrade to a PC that had USB.

By someguy123 on 4/6/2012 9:55:54 PM , Rating: 2
Ultrabook is just a marketing term. For someone complaining endlessly about how gimmicky the concept is, you sure eat up their marketing terms like candy.

laptops/netbooks/ultrabooks may as well all be classified as laptops. I don't remember calling my thinkpad a fattop, nor my substantially slimmer Asus a slimtop. Laptops have their own market outside of tablets. Marketing the "ultrabook" is simply a way to improve their margins. Intel profits regardless, they simply profit MORE if someone buys an ultrabook rather than a macbook air, since the airs use cheaper processors with Apple markup rather than expensive intel processors. There really is no losing in this situation since they have a clutch on the market.

By ajcarroll on 4/5/2012 5:31:09 PM , Rating: 2
Nicely put darkmatter. The majority of consumers do indeed consume content, and Intel has indeed so far failed to make headway in the growing market of tablets.

Describing the laptop market as "flagging" might be a little harsh, but it's kind of hard to ignore the reality that there's massive growth in the tablet space... and a non-insignificant amount of that growth has come at the expense of the notebook market.

I think the opportunity that Ultrabooks offer the manufacturers is a chance to move their average selling price upwards. Where as today the biggest selling laptops are in the 500 ~ 800 price range - I wonder if we'll see tablets dominate that price range and notebooks move towards a $1000 price range but in lower volumes than we've seen in the past.

Still won't be able to sell Ultrabooks
By Beenthere on 4/6/2012 12:05:55 AM , Rating: 2
It should be obvious by now that consumers don't want Ultrabooks because they are all looks and poor performance at an absurd price.

RE: Still won't be able to sell Ultrabooks
By Kyuu on 4/6/2012 1:11:50 AM , Rating: 2
If that were true, then how the hell did Macbook Airs sell?

RE: Still won't be able to sell Ultrabooks
By Visual on 4/6/2012 3:26:55 AM , Rating: 4
Well, that's different. It has magical Apple marketing.

Same as the iPod originally. No external memory card support, no lyrics display, no folder structure support, no on-the-go playlist editing, no standard headphone jack even... and it sold. There were way cheaper alternatives with a lot of those above features, so I was sure no one with a clue would buy iPods.
I still don't understand exactly what happened.

By steven975 on 4/6/2012 8:54:52 AM , Rating: 1
Yes, there's some magic apple marketing, but the Air is a darn good laptop/ultrabook/whatever.

I got one last year (the i5 13") and it's pretty wonderful really. They're about $100-200 more than the competition, but they have really good fit and finish. And I can take it to the store if it breaks and they will fix it.

I don't see what all the hoopla is over's generally unstable and poor performing. It doesn't crash, but it hesitates often. Win7 on my Air is the primary OS and it works wonderfully.

I have a MDP-HDMI cable, so that check-box is filled. I also have lightpeak, and SD support. Graphics are weak, but this IS my secondary/travel computer...I have a gaming system when I need that. The Air is plenty fast for what it is, and not even a bad value for what you get.

There's a reason the Air sells...because it's the best of the ultrabooks.

By DiscoWade on 4/6/2012 9:00:06 AM , Rating: 2
Because Apple has such a loyal following that anything they sell, millions will buy it just because it is Apple. It won't matter if something is better or cheaper.

By geddarkstorm on 4/6/2012 11:06:11 AM , Rating: 2
The only bank these outlaws will be robbing is Intel's marketing department.

Apple thanks Intel for hurting competitors
By Commodus on 4/5/2012 4:51:39 PM , Rating: 1
I'm sure Apple would like to congratulate Intel on helping MacBook Air sales.

It's not because Apple is the real inventor of the ultrabook and still the one that defines the category the most, although those are both true. It's because, now, all the Windows versions are lumped under a generic "ultrabook" label. No one stands out, so no one gets noticed. Much in the same way that there's the iPad and generic "Android tablets."

If Intel really wanted Windows ultrabooks to stand out, it would be paying Acer, ASUS, Lenovo, and their kind to directly market their PCs, not creating all-encompassing ads. Mom and Pop won't know which one to buy, and they probably won't buy any.

By dark matter on 4/5/2012 7:35:02 PM , Rating: 3
Absolutely, all Intel is doing is diluting any brand awareness between the OEM's, some have more prestige than others.

If Intel "REALLY" wanted to challenge Apple. It would have been better if they had only selected "prime" partners for it's "prestigue" range.

But of course, having done this to AMD In the past, it can't follow this line of marketing.


RE: Apple thanks Intel for hurting competitors
By tayb on 4/5/2012 7:45:21 PM , Rating: 3
They all use Intel chips so what does it really matter?

RE: Apple thanks Intel for hurting competitors
By dark matter on 4/6/2012 4:33:31 AM , Rating: 2
tell that to Intel who has just wasted a fortune getting tier one OEMs to compete with each other and make the term "ULTRABOOK" meaningless.

But hey, don't listen to my facts...

Just watch the adverts....


By theapparition on 4/6/2012 9:56:17 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure you presented any facts, only your opinion.

The poster you were commenting did post a fact though, that all Ultrabooks use Intel, along with the Macbook Air. That is a fact, not conjecture.

Intel has no interest in who "wins", only that they sell the processor inside. Their campaign is to raise interest in the ultrabook product line. If sales increase for ultrabooks, they gain.

Laptops are here to stay
By brentpresley on 4/5/2012 4:26:23 PM , Rating: 3
To those wondering if a tablet/ipad will ever replace the laptop, I ask this simple question: Have you ever tried to type one page of 12-pt or smaller text on a tablet?

Laptops and the traditional computer are going no where for a long long time and I believe that ultrabooks are a great evolution of the laptop. There are many tasks that keyboard-less devices simply suck at.

RE: Laptops are here to stay
By tayb on 4/5/2012 6:09:30 PM , Rating: 2
The current Transformer Prime is not my cup of tea. But a generation or two from now with a huge boost in power and running Windows 8? Why would I buy a traditional notebook or ultra book? Take the slate when I want to or dock it and take the whole thing if I think I need to type. A laptop becomes an inconvenience in comparison.

RE: Laptops are here to stay
By dark matter on 4/5/2012 7:33:19 PM , Rating: 2
the article is about "ultrabooks". An intel invented marketing term.

You might want to remember that before you talk about "laptops", a completely different topic.

RE: Laptops are here to stay
By AnnihilatorX on 4/6/2012 5:45:43 AM , Rating: 2
While it may be a different topic it is not a completely different topic.

Ultrabooks fall under the umbrella of laptops, it is as you said, a marketing term by Intel which uses 2nd gen or later Intel core platform.

Laptop is a generic term which encompasses every portable computer with keyboard, from 12.1" ultralights to bulky 17" gaming laptops, that includes ultrabooks and even convertible tablets---I use my Lenovo X220 tablet as a laptop most of the time.

By kleinma on 4/5/2012 3:11:09 PM , Rating: 4
I enjoyed their commercials a few years back. Like the one where the guy who helped invent USB walks into the cafeteria and everyone is going nuts over him, trying to get him to sign autographs and stuff.. or the one with the robot...

those were pretty good.

RE: intel
By HolgerDK on 4/5/2012 3:32:53 PM , Rating: 3
What's the ROI
By tayb on 4/5/2012 4:26:24 PM , Rating: 2
That is a lot of money to spend. I wonder if they even come close to recouping that value.

RE: What's the ROI
By retrospooty on 4/5/2012 4:32:08 PM , Rating: 2
Its not much to Intel. They are rich beyond belief. It will come back and then some.

Macbook Air wasn't that early
By Colin1497 on 4/6/2012 9:09:20 AM , Rating: 2
The Japanese were way ahead of Apple on adopting the form factor. I think my first Toshiba Portege 2000 was about 5-6 years before the first Macbook air and that I had a well used R200 when the air was introduced.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins

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