Personal computer (PC) companies Dell, HP, Intel, Lenovo and Microsoft have teamed up to launch a $70 million advertising campaign highlighting just how far computers have come since the smartphone boom first began.
Announced Thursday and scheduled to launch in the U.S. and China on Monday, the six-week “PC Does What?” campaign is aimed at prompting consumers to rethink the classic PC experience.
“Collectively, we have made so many innovative strides that the ‘everyday’ PC experience that people have come to expect has changed profoundly,” said Lenovo’s chief marketing officer David Roman. “We are talking revolution, not evolution, to such an extent that we stand unified in our commitment to educate and excite the market. In particular, the U.S. and China are the No. 1 and No. 2 PC markets in the world, and we believe that there are millions of consumers in these markets who will be interested in what today’s PC can do.”
Among the PC features slated to be highlighted in the five-TV-spot series are improved battery performance that allow users to leave the cord behind, better gaming experiences facilitated by higher resolution and faster frame rates, facial recognition technology for logging in and improved responsiveness in 2 in 1 PC models that compares favorably with competing tablets.
According to a press release, the ads will be somewhat indirect, using personal narratives and native advertising to push consumers in the right direction. The PC products featured are all currently on the market, the release said, though new innovations are expected to arrive around the holidays.
“The possibilities of today’s PCs are endless, but millions of people are still using outdated systems,” said Dell’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer Karen Quintos. “For consumers and business users alike, entirely new benefits and features come standard in the latest devices. Now is the perfect time to experience what you’ve been missing.”
The campaign comes as PC makers have faced slow sales thanks to competition from tablets and smartphones. On the heels of a 2.2 percent decline in PC sales in 2014, International Data Corp. (IDC) projected in March that PC sales would drop nearly five percent in 2015 to a total of 293.1 million worldwide. Last week, Gartner released a report revealing that PC shipments declined 7.7 percent year over year in the third quarter. The top three PC companies based on third quarter shipment figures from Gartner were Lenovo, HP and Dell.
Out of those participating in the campaign, Lenovo has had a particularly rough year, announcing plans in August to reduce its workforce by 10 percent in an attempt to recover from a massive first fiscal quarter earnings slide of 51 percent year over year. Microsoft has also struggled in 2015 following its acquisition of Nokia’s device business, announcing in July that it planned to cut nearly 8,000 jobs from its phone division. The company, however, has had some success with its recent launch of Windows 10, which was installed on 75 million devices less than a month after its July launch.
Long-term, IDC has predicted the PC market will stabilize, forecasting PC shipments totaling 291.4 million in 2019. This trend may be partially driven by the fact that nearly half of respondents in Gartner’s 2015 personal technology survey said they plan to purchase a PC in the next 12 months, compared to less than a quarter who said they planned to purchase a tablet in the same timeframe.
Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa, said a soft recovery for PC shipments is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of this year, thanks in part to Windows 10, and said more stable market conditions will be present in the coming year.