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HP's Uphill Battle with Apple


De La Soul

Tony Hawk

HP's new campaign with Dr. Dre is no joke. Its major. Its corporate WAR at its best and I love it! Since I dropped the Dre-n-HP vs. Apple story lots of folks have emailed me, called me and smoke signaled me their thoughts.

The essence of it- Apple ain't going out soft. They have arguably the most loyal followers of any tech brand ever. The other basic reality- PC's are for work, and Apples are for fun. But there is something else going on at HP.

For lack of a better word for it, lets call it the "Jordan Strategy."

Dr. Dre's Detox is possibly the most anticipated rap album in the history of the genre. I think HP is going after the NEW generation of beatmakers. They don't want Apple defectors. They want kids coming up now who see Dr. Dre as Jordan of rap. "Be like Dre" is the short version.

Nike never said other peoples shoes weren't cool, comfortable or fun to wear. "But Jordan wears Nikes" was the bottom line. HP's doing the same thing. "We know all your homies work on Apples. But Dr. Dre (ie the best ever to do it) uses HP!" That should be the strategy.

In order for HP to win, they are going to have to convince the general public of the following differentiation points 1) HP made a quality music product. 2) Dr. Dre really uses it. 3) That its easy to use and learn. 4) Its not going to break their bank to get it.

Apple has less to do than I initially thought. But really, this is a battle for the future (ie the youth).They might need to get some new ads going on with artists from Hip-Hop (various geographic regions or sub-genre's). Maybe do a celeb contest or two for something on iTunes. But they cannot afford to sit still.

Apple has a long history of reaching out to the niche markets who love Apple software. Above you will find DJ QBert (the Jordan of DJ's), De La Soul (arguably the Jordan of rap groups) and Tony Hawk (the Jordan of skating) from 2002.

I remember the ads happening. I don't remember them being in super heavy rotation. But their mere existence proves the clarity and forethought of the Apple ad team. I'm sure they are in the war room now.

Nevertheless, if HP includes cool tutorials of Dre using the product, if they have "lite" free versions of it for people to play with, if they lace Detox downloads with HP exclusives they can win the NEW war with Apple. But its all uphill. Grab a grenade and stay low. This is gonna be fun.

-Beyond Urban Branding


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