HP Gets Young, Groovy and Personal with mtvU’s “Meet or Delete”

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Computer maker Hewlett-Packard has decided it is about time to remind consumers to snuggle up to their computers and get personal. As part of HP’s global multimillion dollar “The Computer is Personal Again” campaign–which targets college students and young computer users as it spans the Web, network and cable TV and newspapers–the company is lead advertiser for mtvU’s new dating show “Meet or Delete.” The program, created by MTV’s college network, is a series of short, 4-minute episodes that follow college students as they decide if they want to meet based solely on the content of their hard drives.

A spokesperson for HP and mtvU explained the inspiration for the campaign, saying, “We’re talking about computers being personal again — people spend so much time on them, using them for everything that is personal and that touches their lives. It felt right to have an online component to this campaign that was rather significant. Further, all of mtvU’s programming is available online — given that college students live their lives online — so it made sense to aggregate all of the ‘Meet or Delete’ content and loads of extras on the meetordelete.com microsite.”

“Meet or Delete” is the first MTV Network series to launch internationally and utilizes cable, online, wireless and global assets in its campaign including a 44 ½ foot high-definition TV in New York’s Times Square.The first episode premiered on mtvU Ãœber at mtvU.com on May 10 and the MTV/HP campaign, they hope, willcontinue one to two years with the first season of the show running through November 2006. The show will also debut across MTV’s global network including local channels in Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America.

With the help of NY-based Night Agency, MTV, mtvU and HP are additionally launching 14 regionalized “Meet or Delete” online hubs with episodes from around the globe, unseen footage, interactive games, free music downloads, updates on previous cast members, casting calls and moreatwww.meetordelete.com.

HP has also beefed up the “Computer is Personal Again” campaign with a new website created by Agency.com, which features a cross-promotion for “Meet or Delete”, hot products and a “Viewing Room” with full-length versions of the show,and web spots,among other ads.The “Extras” section offers users the chance to create personal versions of the TV spots. This site also highlights HP’s new Total Care customer service package that promises a superior experience with HP for the life of a consumer’s machine.But other than the spiffy Flash graphics, the site does not offer a lot of exciting interactive options.

I applaud the idea behind the HP campaign, since the company hasaddressed that computers “became one of the most personal things people owned. And so it became about time that one company stood up to make the computer and the experience around it, even more personal,” according to the spokesperson. But, I am not sure that the savvy online viewers of “Meet or Delete” will care that HP is sponsoring the show as opposed to any other product. Although the show focuses on the contents of the contestants’ hard drives, I don’t think the show’s message will rope in viewers to make sure their hard drives are HP.

Regardless, the campaign is getting the word out with rich mediaand traditional banners on Yahoo, MTV, MySpace, MSN, WeatherChannel, CIO, Forbes, Entrepreneur, InfoWorld, and CNet, and “Meet or Delete” is being promoted on mtvU, mtvU Ãœber at mtvU.com, mtvU wireless and via blogs and other online forums.

The campaign will also spread via word mouth as users email the episodes and other “Meet or Delete” activities to their friends. More activites will be launched on the microsite, and campaign ads will soon be available for extended viewing on sites like You Tube. But regardless of the campaign’s international reach and exposure to mtvU’s captive audience, only time will tell if viewers will “Meet or Delete” on an HP computer.

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