HP creates pop-up studio to get hands-on with creative community

HP is looking to match the likes of Apple in establishing itself as a technology brand for the creative community by setting up a pop-up studio for visual effects (VFX) artists and animators from across Europe and setting them to the task of creating a new superhero character for London using its products.


It is hoped the effort, which launched late last month and has also included talks and live art from leading producers and VFX professionals including the team behind the famous Honda “Hands” film, will improve the associations between creativity and HP products – which are usually more commonly linked with and marketed to the enterprise segment.

All the creatives in the Soho, London-based studio working on the superhero speed animation collaboration will use HP workstations, which the company hopes will turn into sales leads. The studio has been named “ZED”, which is also the name for one of the company’s high-end range of workstations, to help with this association.

HP has partnered with Future Publishing’s Creative Bloq, creative event organisers See No Evil and design community Cut & Paste to promote the activity. The technology company’s branding agency Doremus used social listening data to inform the schedule line-up and invites.

If deemed successful, HP will open up further pop up animation studios around Europe as it seeks to establish itself as a more creative-friendly brand.

HP has long partnered with the animation industry, including a strategic alliance with DreamWorks Animation, which has used its technology to create films such as Madagascar, Kick Ass and its latest film Turbo.

It is rare, however, that HP has marketed this type of collaboration with the creative industry and is why it has also called on partners such as Intel, Adobe and 3D design software company Autodesk to help communicate and facilitate some of the ZED activity. in 2010 Intel formed a creative partnership with Vice Media as it looked to communicate the creativity that can be harnessed using its technology using a marketing, content and events platform called “The Creators Project”

HP has placed marketing at the heart of its turnaround strategy having struggled in recent years to arrest the decline in hardware sales. CEO Meg Whitman increased the size of all her marketing directors’ budgets, including those in the UK, shortly after she joined, in 2012. 

Since then it has embarked on a wide range of reinvigorated consumer and business activity, including a strategic partnership with Universal Music to run a series of gigs, content and competitions; and a sizeable B2B push to position its tablets as superior to the iPad for business travellers. 

In its third quarter this year, HP’s revenue was down 8 per cent year on year to $27.2bn. Earlier this month Whitman said she expected revenue to stabilise in 2014 and for the company to begin to drive “new pockets of growth” next year. She predicts HP will become an “industry leading company” in 2016.



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