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Happy Birthday Intel: Y U SO FAMOUS?

Posted by Sam Golden on 19th July 2012

Intel, the renowned semiconductor chip manufacturer turned 44 yesterday and remains one of the world’s most well-known brands. Though I’m sure they celebrated with chips rather than cake… sorry.

The thing is, unlike other recognisable brands like McDonald’s or Starbucks you’ll probably never need to buy an Intel chip, despite using one everyday. So I started wondering why we all recognise Intel’s brand and why it’s so important we do. Turns out it was all down to one man, a swirly logo and a catchy five note jingle.

In the beginning, Intel was a name only recognised by the upper echelons of the engineering world. Established on the 18th of July 1968 as the leading provider of SRAM and DRAM memory chips, the company developed the world’s first commercial microprocessor chips in 1971. With the introduction of the first personal computers the company began to grow rapidly and in the 90’s Intel’s name started to seep into the collective conscious.

It was all down to Intel’s marketing manager Dennis Carter, who came up with Intel’s ground breaking ‘Intel Inside’ marketing campaign in 1991. The goal was to push Intel’s brand out to the masses and gain public brand loyalty – making people aware that Intel processors were being used in consumer computers. Dennis started to reach out to computer manufacturers that used the Intel microprocessor. He offered to pay some of their advertising costs in return for them including the Intel Inside logo and jingle in their ad campaigns.

This created a tie between Intel and a range of B2C computer companies. Not only raising public awareness of the Intel brand but also inextricably linking Intel to the brands of some of the world’s biggest computer sellers. Intel had ensured their customers would keep coming back for more.

The Intel Inside campaign established Intel’s logo as a mark of quality, a badge for computer sellers to wear with pride. People would question the quality of a PC If their logo wasn’t included in its advert. Computer manufacturers had to keep buying from Intel so they could keep using their logo to complement their own brand. Clever eh?

I believe it’s this wider brand awareness that separates the big brands from the small fries, my advice to any company wanting to run a campaign like this would be to work with PR agency to help develop a thought leadership strategy. As a brand becomes more engrained into our everyday life it’s more likely we’ll miss it when it’s gone.

Photo credit: Purdue University photo/Andrew Hancock

Sam Golden