A group of PC makers are partnering with Microsoft and Intel to convince you that it’s time to buy a new computer. While it’s not unusual for Intel and Microsoft to work together to highlight the latest chips or operating systems, what is unusual is for competing PC makers to partner in this way.
But with PC sales stagnating, maybe it shouldn’t be surprising to see Dell, HP, and Lenovo band together to try to convince you that PCs are still exciting.
The new campaign is called “PC Does What?” and it includes web, social media, and TV ads designed to highlight new types of computes including thin and light models and 2-in-1 machines as well as advancements in performance that allow modern computers to do things that would be difficult with an older machine.
The ad campaign will roll out starting October 19th in the US and China, which the companies say represent the largest PC markets. About half of all PCs are sold in those countries.
Over the last few years, we have seen mobile computers including notebooks and convertibles get thinner and lighter while also offering longer battery life. Meanwhile, Intel has made big improvements to integrated graphics, enabling devices with high-resolution displays and support for (some) gaming without a discrete graphics card.
The ads I’ve seen focus on things like thinness (showing a PC being slid under a door), convertible form factors (with several ads showing notebooks becoming tablets and vice versa), and other special features (such as the super-thin bezels on Dell’s laptops with “InfinityEdge” displays).
In some ways, it seems like PC makers are victims of their own success: they’re not targeting new audiences here, but rather PC users that are currently holding onto systems they may have had for 4 or 5 years. The idea is to get them to upgrade by highlighting some of the things new PCs can do that older ones may not be able to. But if there are a lot of people holding onto their aging PCs, it may be because they already do everything the user wants.
Smartphones, on the other hand, have gotten substantially better in recent years… and go through a lot of wear and tear when you carry them around everywhere. So people are used to upgrading those every year or two.
At the same time, some people are using phones and tablets for many of the things they used to use PCs for, which means they may see fewer and fewer reasons to upgrade an older model.
Dell, HP, Lenovo, Intel, and Microsoft hope their new ads convince you to buy a new PC. But I wonder if there are a large number of people are truly putting off buying a new computer because they simply don’t know what’s available… or if many PC users know what’s out there, and just aren’t buying it.