Intel has announced the latest round in their promotion of the new Ultrabook line of computers: the Four Stories short film competition, in association with W Hotels.
The competition, open until August 30th, invites aspiring screenwriters worldwide to submit a 10-minute/10-page screenplay that features both the Ultrabook laptop and a W Hotel destination as central characters.
The rest is really up to the screenwriter - anything's game as long as the requisite brand mentions are featured prominently.
Competitions like this are nothing new; brands (especially Starwood) are always trying to reach the creative class in their cross-branded promotions. As Apple clearly knows, the creative class can mean big bucks.
The press release bills the W as a destination for the "stylish international guest," and calls the "sleek, portable Ultrabook" a "star".
It also describes "high-impact Ultrabook design installations" at "W Hong Kong, W London-Leicester Square, W New York, W Paris-Opéra, W San Francisco and W Singapore, allowing both W guests and locals alike to interact with the latest in innovative technology."
It features quotes from Intel marketing on the "evolution of the arts through the power of every day technology" and quotes from W marketing about supporting "rising visionaries in their field, while showcasing what's new and next to our global guests."
The Marketing Machine is in full force here, and it's not necessarily enough to overcome the target demographic's skepticism.
In their opinion, most creatives are already using "the latest in innovative technology:" MacBooks, iPhones and iPads. iOS commands 85% of the mobile browsing share; there are 365 million iOS devices in the world; this past quarter, Apple sold over 2 million Airs (the computer that created the market and Ultrabook's direct competitor).
In all likelihood, many of the people writing these scripts in coffeeshops and home offices around the world are writing them on an Apple product.
Do stylish, MacBook-toting creatives really want to walk into a lobby of a high-end hotel and be assaulted by an interactive PC installation clamoring for attention like some maitre 'd outside a cheap Italian restaurant?
This promotion doesn't jibe with the realities of the target demographic - think "sell-out."
W Hotels has spent a decade crafting a stylish, with-it brand identity, and definitely has the most to lose with an off-demographic partnership that doesn't seem to deliver actual value to their guests. Just consider a couple of the comments from Intel's own branded Four Stories page:
That being said, it's a fantastic alignment for Intel, as they're clearly trying to position the Ultrabook as an alternative to the MacBook Air and Apple's dominance of the digital creative ecosystem.
A star-studded panel, a glamorous opening night, and a group of star spokespersons convinced - or being paid enough to believe - that the Ultrabook is worthy of their high-fashion, high-style consideration...Intel's getting a nice boost from the W, and must have paid a hefty price for this dip into W Hotels' brand equity.
Intel can chalk this one up as a win simply for convincing W Hotels to go along with it. Here's a video from the opening night at the W New York that highlights the pomp surrounding the promotion.
And if the Ultrabook sales numbers are correct, the brand fluff isn't sitting well with anyone else either.