Microsoft, Intel Join Tech Giants In PC Push

Microsoft and Intel have teamed up with competitors Dell, HP, and Lenovo to revive a sluggish PC market with their "PC Does What?" ad campaign.

Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading

October 16, 2015

3 Min Read
<p align="left">(Image: Kieferpix/iStockPhoto)</p>

Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, Lumia 950: Microsoft's New Hardware Push

Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, Lumia 950: Microsoft's New Hardware Push

Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, Lumia 950: Microsoft's New Hardware Push (Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Microsoft and Intel are partnering with PC manufacturers Dell, HP, and Lenovo to create an advertising campaign intended to jolt a dying PC market back to life.

As more people embrace the mobile lifestyle, PC makers face dwindling sales. Global PC shipments hit almost 71 million units in the third quarter of 2015, reports research firm IDC, a 10.8% tumble from the third quarter of 2014.

This problem is too big for one company, as indicated in the recent camaraderie among competitors. The goal of their new ad campaign, entitled "PC Does What?" is to spotlight the relevance and capabilities of modern PCs amidst the growing popularity of smartphones.

[Microsoft's first laptop: Up Close With Surface Book.]

It's no secret the five biggest names in the PC market want to boost sales, but this level of collaboration is unprecedented for the industry.

AP reports that all five partners will split the cost of their $70 million ad campaign, which includes online ads and TV commercials across major networks. "PC Does What?" is launching Oct. 19 and will run for six weeks in the US and China.

Their campaign will largely rely on "native ads," otherwise known as "advertorial." The term is used to describe content that is created to look less like a traditional advertisement and more like a blog post or news article.

"PC Does What?" targets people who haven't bought new PCs in about four to five years, reported tech industry analyst Patrick Moorhead, who hosted a Thursday webinar among marketing leaders from each participating company. This reach could give the campaign an audience of about 400 million people.

"We want to let them know how much better today's PCs are than the PCs they're using," said Intel CMO Steven Fund during the presentation.

Most people have PCs, but see little reason to upgrade. Why invest in a new laptop when you can carry a premium smartphone around in your pocket? Microsoft, Intel, Dell, Lenovo, and HP are on a mission to show consumers the benefits of upgrading their outdated machines.

Those who haven't shopped for PCs within the past five years are more likely to be unaware of how modern PCs look and function. Each ad highlights one of these features in a different context: There is a woman lounging poolside using a laptop with Infinity Edge display and a copilot blaring music mid-flight.

Some of the new technologies demonstrated in the video ads include longer battery life, touch screens, thinner design, improved graphics and sound, and the ability to fold the screen backwards for use as a tablet.

The ads convey their messages in a lighthearted way, but the repetitive "PC does what?" exclamation does get old. It seems like five of the most powerful minds in tech marketing could have (probably) come up with a better strategy. We'll have to see how the public reacts.

Intel has shared the videos on its YouTube channel, where you can view them before they appear on TV. What do you think of the ads? What do you think should have been different?

About the Author(s)

Kelly Sheridan

Staff Editor, Dark Reading

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial services. Sheridan earned her BA in English at Villanova University. You can follow her on Twitter @kellymsheridan.

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