Intel Launches Boneheaded Boardroom Brand Blather

intellogos_1.jpg

Claiming Intel's marketing needed a swift kick in the ass, American Technology Research Analyst Doug Freeman, commenting on Intel's decision to change its tagline from "Intel Inside" to "Leap Ahead" in support of the company's expansion beyond computers, said, "That they're going to focus on 'Leap Ahead' makes me think about the technology. Not, 'buy me because I'm inside,' but 'buy me because I'm doing something unique.'" Apart from the fact that sounds like boneheaded boardroom brand blather, the change is beyond stupid. It's illogical and nonsensical. Intel chips ARE inside. That's the whole point. It's an easily understood, straight forward way of saying a product is better because it has an Intel chip inside. "Leap Ahead" is meaningless. Oh sure, there's that whole squishy, "we're doing all these cool things to help you move ahead and beyond the competition" but that could be applied to any company. It's not unique enough to set Intel apart from, say, the brand of wires used inside a device.

GE committed the same brand suicide with its change from "We Bring Good Things to Life," which actually said what the company did, to "Imagination at work" which makes one think GE employees just daydream all day long rather than do actual work which would...well...bring good things to life. We know full well where all this brand puffery comes from. We've been through it ourselves many times and that blather always sounds so right at the time. But, that's only because the brand development team has been locked in a conference room for months with fancy diagrams, extravagant PowerPoint presentations and lots and lots of Kool Aid. One tends to forget consumers don't get to sit in on those self-important, chest-beating, group-nod, back-slapping brand buy-in sessions. It all results in a agency and the client completely understanding the new brand definition and, upon campaign launch, consumers uttering a collective, Huh?"

Humorously, a few days ago and two years after GE changed its tagline to "Imagination At Work," we heard a game show/reality show contestant, in reaction to some joke the host made about GE, say, "Yup. We Bring Good Things to Life." Guess that new tagline's working really well for GE.

In marketing, we tend to forget it takes years for most people to fully identify with a brand's message. It takes just as long if not longer for people to accept and understand a new brand message. So it goes without saying a marketer better be damn sure their new brand blather clearly conveys the right message before embarking upon a change. We think Intel is making a big mistake changing from an easily understood and descriptive tagline to one that conveys nothing more than boneheaded boardroom brand blather. Of course, with billions to spend on marketing, none of this matters. Intel could change their tagline to "Duh" and the whole world would recite it in unison.

UPDATE: To be clear, I have no problem with the logo. just the tagline.

Written by Steve Hall    Comments (15)     File: Brands, Opinion     Dec-30-05  
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Comments

"That's the whole point. It's an easily understood, straight forward way of saying a product is better because it has an Intel chip inside.
...it takes years for most people to fully identify with a brand's message. It takes just as long if not longer for people to accept and understand a new brand message."

Dammit, took the words right out of my mouth.
Nicely done ranter.

Posted by: snake on December 30, 2005 03:20 PM

I kinda like the new tagline. Read my critique about the new logo design.

Posted by: ivan on December 30, 2005 05:11 PM

"We think Intel is making a big mistake changing from an easily understood and descriptive tagline to one that conveys nothing more than boneheaded boardroom brand blather."

I spent 15 years at Intel most of it at corporate marketing before retiring early in 2000. Congratulations to Eric Kim who is risking destroying billions of dollars in brand value after only a year on the job.

The new logo does look more modern, but Intel isn't a GE, or AT&T, or Phillip Morris with a old stodgy reputation or major consumer backlash.

The new tagline is hideous. For every Aspiration tagline that suceeds like Nike's just do it, there are a score that fail.

Finally, the decision to use "core" instead of a made up name is just lunancy. Intel has enough money and consumer mind share to make Pentium, or Centrino mean something to the consumer. Core already has mulitple meaning and there is no way it will become synomous with a :Intel chip for mobile computers"

I guess I should thank Eric in one way, I have been slow about selling my remaining Intel stock. I have got 20,000 shares anybody want to buy some?

Posted by: Clif on December 30, 2005 08:36 PM

The new logo makes a lot more sense than the two marks they had previously employed (the Intel wordmark and "Intel Inside" logo). They have simplified "Intel Inside" down to one word and simplified their identity down to one logo.

That said, the tagline seems defensive. I read a lot of IT trade journals and I haven't read that Intel is more innovative than AMD in any respect for the past few years. So, what exactly are they leaping ahead of? Apparently not the competition. Over promise, and they're in trouble.

That said, as I understand it, they are repositioning themselves away from processors and focusing on synergies in software, hardware and processors. If they can pull off the positioning change, then the competition may in fact be playing catch up.

We'll see. I'm of the mind that it all starts with Apple. I might be overly optimistic about January 10th, but the timing for both companies is perfect.

Posted by: Lee Dale on December 30, 2005 10:52 PM

"Of course, with billions to spend on marketing, none of this matters. Intel could change their tagline to "Duh" and the whole world would recite it in unison."

Yep. Who said 'I'm Lovin' It' was an idiotic tagline?

Everyone.

Who instantly knows what company it belongs to?

Everyone.

Posted by: Mack Collier on December 30, 2005 11:07 PM

Agreed on the tagline being naff, but the new logo does signify a shift in strategy in the face of a new environment, and top-level support for the shift. I agree with Lee Dale above on ending the confusion between ‘Intel’ and ‘Intel inside’ (the latter seems more dated than the former). So, it’s a generally positive outlook from me for the new logo, but I generally agree that the tagline is largely meaningless and could be ignored. But let’s see what throwing $2 billion at it will do.

Posted by: Jack Yan on December 31, 2005 05:29 PM

I am not in advertising, but I am a business owner who looks for the "intel inside" logo when purchasing computer products. If I see something called "leap ahead" I immediately think of the childrens game leapster. Have they even thought of that? And no, sorry, what is "I'm lovin it?"
I guess I am out of the loop.

Posted by: Jack Cooper on January 2, 2006 04:17 PM

I always thought the success of "I'm lovin' it" had more to do with the billion ads that filled the airwaves and the inane but catchy tune that went with it.

As for Intel, when you're dealing with a product that the majority of purchasers couldn't tell you how it really works, or the true difference between an HP and a Dell, that little logo on the front is what most people remember.

Posted by: Rob Mattheu on January 3, 2006 06:45 AM

I'm a frog. I'm a bunny. I'm a grasshopper. I'm born in February.
I'm going over a cliff.

Posted by: owen on January 3, 2006 10:07 AM

From my understanding, Intel will keep the "inside" tag when computers or consumer products are branded with the type of chip that is used. Since Apple is going to jump in the game, I think it is a smart move.

http://www.matbe.com/divers/zoom/nouveaux-logos-intel/000000022934.png/

Posted by: John Boy on January 3, 2006 10:25 AM

i guess i should post this on a design blog, but as a designer and a corporate ID one at that, i find this logo absolutely un-freaking-imaginative.

it looks like every other swish/swirl/circle that emanated (spewed?) from the near-death-of-the-internet in the late 90's and early start of the 21st century.

i think the type design is actually pretty good. but the swirl? yeah, i see the people claiming there is equity in the swirl from the intel inside mark (which i guess that being a bad 80's type design, this is progress), but come on. people get the brand name. intel. yep. got it. not marcy's computer chips. there is equity in the name. people can get over the loss of a swish. especially when they see it on nearly every other bad logomark created five years ago.

let's guess here: landor?

truly unimaginative.

Posted by: dave on January 3, 2006 02:14 PM

Landor. That's funny! Thanks for that, Dave:-)

Posted by: Steve Hall on January 3, 2006 02:31 PM

I like the fact the new line focuses on the benefit not the product, and its clearly hinting that they are more powerful than AMD.

Not a fan of the logo change though, and it will be harder for other PC makers to fit "Leap Ahead" into their campaigns as they do with "Intel Inside".

Posted by: Rob Mortimer on January 3, 2006 03:11 PM

Dave:

I agree, the typography is quite original...but surely the swish/circle/swirl logos have been and gone!

Posted by: Rob Mortimer on January 3, 2006 03:14 PM

I like the typo and initially thought Intel had come up with their own typeface but as it seems they have just modified the "Neo Sans", a font-family developed by Sebastian Lester in 2004 with two faces: Neo Sans and Neo Tech.

The new Intel font combines elements of both sub-font-families, for example the g out of the Neo Tech font and the rounded edges.

More about the rebranding on Brand Infection

Posted by: nader on January 4, 2006 01:09 PM

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