Final_Intel_LogoIn the last few years, Intel’s advertising has become a lot less inward-focused. For decades, the company’s “Intel Inside” campaign directed consumers’ attention to the chips that Intel puts inside electronic devices. While that campaign (with its instantly recognizable bong-bong-bong jingle) helped make the company what it is today, Intel hasn’t been content to rest on its success. This is a company with innovation in its DNA, after all.

With new CMO Steve Fund at the helm, Intel has added an outward looking element to its Intel Inside message. The company’s latest marketing push is focused outward, highlighting the shuttle launches, solar-powered car races, animated dragons, high-tech garments, and other wonders that Intel technology brings to life. The initial video spot (with copy that reads: “Intel Inside … Makes Amazing Experiences Outside”) spent more than a year in creative gestation.

It was time well spent for Intel and its partners at McGarryBowen, who scored the spot to a mash-up of the Intel jingle and Beethoven’s Fifth. And like Intel itself, the marketing team has continued to push the edge. At February’s Super Bowl, the company ran an ad with Tom Brady that featured its 360-degree replay technology—and if that weren’t enough, provided a light show via 300 synchronized drones during Lady Gaga’s halftime set.

How I See It

  • Intel’s new “Experience Amazing” campaign is consistent with a broader trend in which advertising pays less attention to the features of products, and more to the human experiences that the products create.
  • It is a true achievement when brands can pull the trick of refreshing their images in a meaningful way, while still staying true to their essential qualities. Intel appears to have done just that with its recent makeover.
  • Intel’s use of drones at the Super Bowl serves several purposes for the company. One of them is getting consumers (and regulators) comfortable with devices that have a great many applications outside of flashy sporting events.

How the Industry Sees It

Final_Steve_FundI sat down with Steve Fund, Chief Marketing Officer at Intel, to hear more about the evolution of the Intel brand.

You joined Intel in 2014. How did you educate yourself about the company as you embarked on the process of redefining its brand?

I wanted to understand the brand from all perspectives. I looked at all of our primary and secondary data. I spoke to people all across the company, friends and family, our customers, our agency partners, industry analysts, and the media. I also initiated new research. I’m extremely data-driven so wanted to take it all in, which fits perfectly with Intel’s engineering culture. I learned that we had amazing brand assets but didn’t evolve the brand as we evolved the company. We needed to move the brand beyond the microprocessor and beyond the PC. We needed to create a stronger relationship with the younger generation. We needed to make the brand more visible, tangible, and experiential for consumers – literally “let the inside out” by bringing to life the ways Intel technology creates amazing experiences. This quickly became the foundation of all of our global marketing activities.

You worked with McGarryBowen when you were part of the marketing team at Staples, and you’ve reunited with them at Intel. What makes your relationship with that agency work?

Both (Intel’s Creative Lead) Teresa (Herd) and I worked with McGarryBowen when we were at Staples. They are fantastic partners and have consistently developed great work. They constantly bring proactive ideas and insights to the business and there are no walls between them and us — they work seamlessly with our internal agency.

Reports have said that the initial “Experience Amazing” video spot was a year in the making. What were the major steps that you went through in getting to a finished product?

The creative concept was actually part of McGarryBowen’s new business pitch. The basic concept didn’t change that much. What’s incredible is all of the unexpected things Intel technology is part of and the amazing experiences it enables — from prosthetic hands, to movie animation, to NASA missions. What took time was aligning on what to showcase, as there were so many stories to tell.

What is one piece of Intel-powered technology that has blown you away?

It’s hard to pick one thing. From using Intel’s Curie module to stream real time data of the athletes’ performance at the XGames, to facial projection mapping transforming Lady Gaga into David Bowie at the Grammy Awards, to using our 360 Replay Technology at the NBA Finals, MLB All-Star Game and the NCAA Final Four, to using drones at the Super Bowl halftime show and in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, Intel-powered technology has helped us put our brand on the world’s biggest stages in an authentic way, and bring to life our brand promise of “Intel makes amazing experiences possible.”

The company’s “Intel Inside” campaign is an iconic one. Does it ever feel intimidating or limiting to you as you work on new creative?

The word “inside” is synonymous with Intel. The challenge and opportunity was to leverage that equity but at the same time use it to pivot to the future. Our new tagline, “experience what’s inside,” does exactly that. It retains the word “inside” but connects it to the experience that our technology delivers.

What is the most interesting object in your office?

The Intel Extreme Masters is one of the biggest global gaming tournaments watched by millions of fans in the arena and online. I have a replica medal of what the winners receive. I’m not very good at e-sports, so this allows me to think I am.