Intel marketing chief: ‘We lost the advertising plot’

Intel brands have been too complicated and confusing when compared to rivals like Apple, admits the global marketing chief Don MacDonald, as the company gears up for a major autumn advertising push.

Speaking in an exclusive and candid interview with Marketing Week, Intel worldwide head of marketing MacDonald says he aims to ensure that Intel marketing pays “an attention to detail that hasn’t been around for 10 years” and puts creativity at the core.

He says the company is even offering $1m (£500,000) as a prize to an employee who will come up with “a kick-arse idea” for advertising.

The new campaign, created by McCann Erickson, will build on the success of its Multiply strategy and will aim to achieve the kind of creative advertising that has given brands such as Apple an edge in their brand image and perception and says the “best is yet to come” from Intel.

MacDonald admits Intel lost out to rivals and became complacent. “Intel took its eye off the ball. Our inability to tell our story cost us dear. Our brands were too complicated and too confusing.”

He says in terms of marketing creativity he has raised standards. “That bar is best in class. I’ll never tolerate bad creative: there is no longer good, bad or mediocre creative – only the best. We needed a huge dose of intellectual honesty and McCann accepts its role of producing nothing but the very best.”

The new advertising push later this year is in development and hinges around the concept that “technology matters” with a focus on mobility.

MacDonald took the marketing helm last year, replacing Eric Kim who came from Samsung in November 2004. Kim was tasked with revitalising marketing and branding, and decided to ditch the Intel Inside strapline, created by Dennis Carter and which was used for about 15 years.

Since MacDonald’s arrival he has restructured the marketing team and slashed budgets, saying Intel marketing needed to be “leaner, meaner and more effective”.

MacDonald says 35% of ad spend is online, but that his commitment to TV is larger this year, as Intel seeks to further build the personality of its brand.

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