Intel i5 Core Commercial: When a company just doesn’t get it

Sometimes, a company just doesn’t get it: it’s not about what a product can theoretically do, but what it can do for the user.

Intel has a history of making a particular type of commercials — “the power inside” commercials, I call them.

Intel marketing people use the following mental model: people/men like muscle cars; people like powerful things; thus if we emphasize the power “on the inside” people would like our computers. And so their current commercials for Intel i5 Core look like this:

So what’s wrong with this? It’s all about them, it’s not about me. I don’t care what’s inside the machine, I care what it can do for me. Or, more accurately, what I can do with it. It’s about my performance.

Imagine going to a car lot and the car salesmen tells you: “It got huge pistons. I mean HUGE. You’ve got to see those pistons!” Perhaps some car buyers would get inspired by such language, but I bet most would find it puzzling. Why should I care? Does it drive well? What’s the performance like? Maneuverability?

Intel’s commercials about its chips are just like a car manufacturer’s fetish remarks about pistons. Sure some would care, but most what to imagine how their lives would change if they owned the car (or computer). The reason Steve Jobs was so successful at selling his products was that he focused on us: what does this mean to us, the users?

Intel does make great commercials, but all of those focus on smart people doing smart things.

When it’s about people, it works. When it’s about chips, not so much…

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