A brief history of the Best Engineered Campaign

Last August I was invited to a meeting at Ogilvy and Mather, Lenovo’s global advertising agency, to preview a concept for a new campaign celebrating our excellence in engineering and legacy of building the world’s best PCs. Lenovo hadn’t run a unified brand campaign, having focused on maintaining the venerable ThinkPad brand in its first year after acquiring the business from IBM. Now, the time has come to build some awareness in a brand name my mother continues to insist on pronouncing “Lenova.”

Oglivy’s concept was whimsical — to celebrate the fantastic possibilities of technology. Their manifesto, which I will try to quote from memory, came down to: “The future isn’t being defined by rock stars or celebrities, it is being built by engineers and scientists.” The concepts were … different.

Now, ten months later, we’re rolling out the fruits of the campaign. At the center is a 90-second video — I can’t call it a commercial really, it isn’t being shown on TV — called “Anthem.” Here it is on LenovoVision. The tune is Gene Wilder singing, from the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, “Pure Imagination.” Beware, the tune will get embedded in your head and prove unshakable.

Anthem is a compilation of four other videos, all shot at the photo shoot for the print and out of home advertising. I think they come off as more than byproducts for the shoot. My favorite is the Crash Test.

Here are the links from YouTube:

Crash Test:




The things to keep in mind about these five videos are:

1. We aren’t buying TV time to show them.

2. We are buying rich media placements — so these are purely “Internet TV ads”

3. We aren’t hitting people over the head with a Ronco announcer saying, “But wait, there’s more.”

4. Did anyone say death to the 30-second spot? The Anthem is 90 seconds, the others are a minute. I dare you to play a long form commercial on television, Internet video advertising is limitless. The question is how long will a person watch?

I’d love your opinion.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

0 thoughts on “A brief history of the Best Engineered Campaign”

  1. Okay, I watched the long one. It’s a little artificial given the context of your blog post and question (“Am I still watching? … Am I STILL watching? …”) but as far as I’m concerned this is brilliant. It’s entertainment, it’s cool, and the point is made subtly but clearly. I can watch the crash test over and over. ds

  2. David,

    I’m glad that you have emerged from your cave and are back to blogging. Great posts.

  3. Great commercial – however not sure about the “story” when we don’t know what happened to the PC in the tank!

    Will work really well in Cinema – 90secs there won’t be an issue.

  4. as soon as i heard Ogilvy, i was worried. while they’re obviously a reputable firm, and win awards for their work with folks like IBM and others, i’m not a big fan. the Special* campaign, to me, is a waste of time and money.

    fortunately, my concerns were misplaced. watched every one of them to the end – excellent. and more importantly, relevant to their brand while still being stylish; something Ogilvy has struggled with in the past, IMO. maybe it’s the tangible goods.

    either way, i like them.

  5. Cute. But to sell a Lenovo Thinkpad, I’d just ask Elect Engrs and Comp Sci people which Windows laptop they would rather have. Or ask students in these fields at universities. The way I put it to people buying laptops is that I would like to “minimize hassle.” It is not if but when you’ll have some trouble and there is something reassuring to be able to call 800-IBM-SERV and get help in English. I think that on the Lenovo packaging for Thinkpad they say “English Spoken Here.” Ironically, my HP laser printer tech support has changed from Canada to India and I don’t like it. So the Chinese company provides tech support in English and the American company provides support from India. Make that a focus of your ads and you’ll win a lot of customers. Part of your advert should be “Your time is valuable to us.” Pity the poor customer that says, “What, can you repeat that again?”

  6. These videos are great but I can’t help but be bothered by the fact that so much emphasis seems to be placed on “Best” engineering, while at the same time retrograding so much with whimsical changes to long time tried, tested and true design considerations. Just a few… 1) The thinkLight on my lastest Z61p is a shade of yellow that makes the keys very hard to read at certain angles in low ambient lighting conditions. 2) The headphone and microphone plugs being placed on the front of the ThinkPad making it impossible to use while holding the laptop over the lap on a plane or while seated whith the knees raised. 3) placing all USB ports on the same corner of the laptop. 4) Changing the subttle blue coloring of functions keys to orange. Every time there was a change in the past there seem to be careful thought and consideration to the reason for the change and it’s implications. Whenever a change was implemented the resulting ThinkPad was either as usable or more usable than the original. Sadly, this is something I can no longer say.

  7. Gus:
    1. I agree on the yellow light vs. white light issue. I’ll ask our head designer David Hill for an explanation.
    2. the placement of the jacks has been criticized. I haven’t used one of the new machine but suspect a big pain in the neck trying to work with wires under my wrists. Dell has done the same, so I suspect there is a Santa Rosa implementation issue.
    3. you think we should? I agree, again, we need to talk more about interior, vs. exterior design.
    4. Wasn’t aware of the blue to orange cvhange.

  8. I must agree, Thinkpad laptops are the absolute best laptops I have ever come across in all my years, nothing even comes close to the build quality of these laptops. I however am very upset with Lenovo’s customer service. You can build the best laptops on earth, but if your customer service does have it’s stuff together, the negatives slowly begin to outweigh the benefits.

    My experience with Lenovo consisted of receiving a laptop with no battery & power cord! I promptly purchased an alternate Thinkpad from a local retailer and called in to make arrangements to return the incomplete laptop that was mailed to me through Lenovo directly. A customer service rep gave me completely inaccurate information as to how to go about returning their equipment to them. (“Just write ‘return to sender’ on the original package and drop it off at a UPS store” was what I was told – only to find out later that this violates every single return procedure ever put into place, and no one can explain to me why this person gave me such misleading information)

    This mis-information left me without a tracking number, and lo & behold Lenovo claims they never received my laptop back at their warehouse. I asked for a physical audit to be done at their warehouse, confident that it’s in there *somewhere* but I was told by Mr Bumarch that that request is wildly unreasonable. (But apparently charging a customer for a laptop that was mailed back to them is completely reasonable)

    I’ve been speaking to Tony Bumarch (Direct Phone Number: 919-543-6681) and have been given the run around over and over with the end result being Lenovo can do absolutely nothing for me. I’ve also CC’d all my correspondences with Tony to David Churbuck, in the hopes that he might be able to assist in some fashion, but apparently my complaints have fallen on deaf ears.

    So to sum it up, Lenovo lied to me, stole my money and told me to go away.

    I’ve been an avid Thinkpad fan for countless years and even have an old P166 Thinkpad in my closet that still runs, (It’s built like a tank) but I have pretty much lost all faith in Lenovo’s ability to properly deal with even the most simple of tasks such as a customer return.

  9. Mr. Collins,
    I am aware of your case, but on vacation. I spoke with Mark Hopkins — who works with Tony Bumarch — yesterday and was brought up to date on the progress of your case. When I return from holiday on Friday I will ask for another status report.

  10. I would very much appreciate that. It’s good to know that my attempts to contact you were just delayed due to a vacation and not due to a dis-interest in assisting a customer – I hope your vacation is a pleasant one.

    I’m really, really (really) doing my best to try and handle this situation in the most cordial manner possible, but it’s becoming increasingly more difficult as time goes on and I’m constantly being told that no one can do anything for me, and that I should just come to terms with not having the laptop I payed for. (Right now, as per my last conversation with Mr Bumarch, the last leg of this experience is underway and UPS is scouring their unauthorized package return center [package purgatory] for my laptop, and should that fail I’m completely out of luck.)

    While I would be absolutely thrilled if this resulted in the return of my laptop, I can’t help but remain skeptical that the outcome will be a positive one considering all else has failed thus far.

    Mr Bumarch is a very polite fellow, and I’m sure under more favorable circumstances I would actually enjoy my interaction with him, but in this instance, the amount of frustration I’ve gone through makes it difficult to appreciate his good mannerisms and pleasant personality when the end result remains that I’m simply expected to pay for a laptop that I have already returned to Lenovo….

    This whole issue has really saddened me, as I’ve always considered the Thinkpad laptops to be the absolute best laptops ever produced, and I in no way look forward to Lenovo going from a company I absolutely adore to one I will never purchase from again simply due to a customer service issue. (As the build quality of the Thinkpad laptops are simply fantastic and second to none.)

    I realize you are most likely a very busy guy, and I’d just like to say (once again) that I very much appreciate your time and attention to this matter, thank you.

  11. I am not sure on the media placement starategy.there is no clear media strtaegy in place on the execution side.The client should not be looking at forceful content fitment like they did with Msn in Indian subcontinent. the ad is beautiful and can be adapated to a suit television and outdoor.

  12. Well as of yet I have heard nothing from you directly Mr Churbuck, I have however been told by Mr Bumarch that Lenovo’s official stance on the matter is that no one is accepts any responsibility for flat out lying to me regarding the return procedure, and that I should have been more familiar with the proper return procedure than the actual representative of Lenovo whom I spoke with. (This

    My e-mails appear to be falling on deaf ears here, as despite CC’ing you into each and every e-mail I have gotten no response from anyone other than Mr Bumarch.

    This is a really disappointing and miserable experience all around, and I’m having a hard time believing that Lenovo’s official stance on the matter is just to steal money from a customer and not look back.

    Could this really the ‘final word’ on the part of Lenovo – a company I formerly admired and trusted?

  13. 1. What type of idiot sends a laptop back to company with ‘return to sender’ written on just because someone told them it was ok to do so?

    2. What type of idiot then goes on to abuse a page thats been set up to discuss excellent creative, with a massivley dissapointing and unambitious media strategy, with complaints about the fact that he’s such an idiot?

    It’s been over 14 months since Collins left his last post, so hopefully he’s died after someone told him it was OK to sunbath on a motorway, or drink petrol or something similar.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: