Hewlett-Packard Fakes FingerSkilz, Touts Blog Penetration

Hewlett-Packard Takes a New Tack: Being Cool

FOR weeks, an unusual Web site linked to the World Cup soccer tournament kept visitors guessing: Could this be real?

[Guess what?  It's not!]

The site, FingerSkilz.tv, shows what appear to be close-up videos of a man’s hand on a desk, using two fingers to perform soccer tricks with a wadded-up paper “ball.’’ The Brazilian-style handiwork attracted more than 180,000 unique visitors to the site, prompted widespread discussion on blogs and moved imitators to create their own “fingerball’’ videos and post them on the Web.

[Cause there's a sucker born every minute!]

Last Thursday, the site, supposedly created by a bored young office worker, was revealed to be a “viral’’ advertisement from Hewlett-Packard, the leading edge of a new global campaign that aims to imbue H.P.’s machines with some of the coolness more commonly associated with Apple.

[Cause tricking people is balla!  Ask Dave Chapelle!]

Hewlett-Packard says the success of the FingerSkilz site demonstrates the effectiveness of nontraditional marketing approaches. At one point, more than 20 percent of British visitors to a company site created as part of the new PC campaign came from FingerSkilz, which ran a banner ad for Hewlett-Packard.

[That's cool, cause they're foreigners!]

Even before the company’s sponsorship of FingerSkilz was disclosed last week, the banner ad was a none-too-subtle hint that the site wasn’t quite what it appeared to be. Still, in owning up, the company left one other thing unsaid: The nifty tricks that the fingers perform were actually created through computer-generated imagery.

[No humans needed!]

Thanks for following Fingerskilz:

In case you haven’t realised already, this site is brought to you by HP. You may have noticed one of our PCs in the background of some of the films! And we’d like to thank you for following it and making Fingerskilz such a huge success so far.

[Thank you for reminding the general public of your trustworthiness.]

We’re saying ‘so far’ because we’re not finished yet. We’ll keep bringing you fingerskilz. And we’d like to see what you can do. It doesn’t have to be fingerball related – just really cool things you can do with your hands.

[Like jacking off?]

HP Expands Global PC Marketing Campaign to Online Audiences

The next round of “The Computer is Personal Again” campaign – three commercials starring Mark Burnett, Mark Cuban and Pharrell Williams – will premiere online before appearing on television.

[Cause we liked you, we really liked you.]

“We are seeing great interest in the number of blog links and online buzz created by the first two ad spots,” said David Roman, vice president of marketing communications, Personal Systems Group, HP. “Online video sites and their prominence in the blog community are today’s ‘word-of-mouth,’ providing a very personal avenue to help HP reach an audience that doesn’t necessarily respond to traditional media, but who will watch an ad online if it’s been recommended by a well-liked blogger or their friend.”

[But it's all good, right?  Bloggers love being manipulated!]

By the way, the NY Times says we can thank "Satjiv Chahil, a former marketing executive at Palm, Sony and Apple, [hired] as head of marketing for the personal systems group".  Thanks, Satjiv!  Believe me, we won’t forget.

But maybe Americans like being fooled and all that matters is awareness.

[Damn.  We really do get the advertising we deserve!]

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