HP’s New Image

HP’s new “Personal Again” campaign is an attempt to restructure the personal computing galaxy with humansâ€â€?instead of machinesâ€â€?at the center of the action. So far, I’ve seen two excellent but very different spots that have been produced as part of this campaign.

MTh to the Rescue

The first is Motion Theory’s effort, which uses cutout style illustrations to transition between people interacting pleasantly with their HP computers. Using a clean, flat graphical system similar to MTh’s previous HP spots, these spots eschew messages of systematization and efficiency in favor of playfulness and intimacy.

hp.jpg

Honestly, if it wasn’t for MTh’s design touch, I think this spot would have failed. The live action is distinctively HP: perfectly balanced, ultra clean andâ€â€?ultimatelyâ€â€?a little inhuman, despite the fact that beautifully lit people are the focus of every shot. The voice over is ominously serious, the camera moves are robotically smooth and the music, while pretty, leans a little too heavily on subdivided beats and electronic timbres to feel very personal.

It’s MTh’s earthy palette and whimsical graphics that save the day. They bookend the spot with visual elements that seem to say, “Hey, lighten up.” Using the icon of a hand to tie everything together was also a very clever move. After all, it’s the human hand that controls the computer, not the other way around. By contrast, an emphasis on, say, the ear or the eye would have placed the human in a passive role. And that wouldn’t work within the context of HP’s campaign.

A Helping Hand

Speaking of hands, gold medal-winning snowboarder Shaun White lent his hands (along with his voice) to HP for the incredible “Hands” spot.

I’m still trying to figure out who did this one. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I’m pretty sure it’s from Method Studios, since it was directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, but I’m not 100% sure about that.

EDIT: Got a little inside information, and it turns out Motion Theory worked with Dayton/Faris on this one. Nice job, and an excellent display of MTh’s versatility.

It’s a brilliant bit of work, from the concept to the writing to the execution: it snares me and jives with the “Personal Again” campaign. I could see a whole series of spots in this vein featuring everyone from financial analysts to opera singers. It’s a nice complement to HP’s more predictable, corporate branding.

Check out this making of video for a nice look at the production process.

About the author

Justin Cone

/ justincone.com
Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.

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5 Comments

Onur Aksoy

I really loved Dayton and Faris’ PS2 Ratchet and Clank TV spots with the real life weapons testing.

I think this one has more of a personal touch than MTh’s. The interaction works seamlessly. Theres an alternative celebrity version of it somewhere too… but where!

As for MethodTheory’s spot I think your spot on Justin

justin

Check my edit above: It turns out that MTh worked on both of these spots. :-)

I think the main difference in these spots is in the conception (mainly the work of agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners) and direction; Dayton/Faris have a wonderfully human touch.

Lucas

wank wank wank.

justin

Illuminating commentary, Lucas. Thanks for the contribution.

Paul

Not the usual CG & visual effects tricks that Motion Theory usually does.
Well done! but sadly a little cold, lacking a certain human touch.

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