Engineer Dennis Carter, the first technical assistant to Intel chief executive Andy Grove, borrowed the consumer-goods industry's cooperative marketing model to launch the Intel Inside campaign.
The team was already working on ideas for marketing the upcoming 486 in
1991 when a San Jose court dropped a bombshell in Intel’s dispute with
AMD: Chip designations like “386” could not be trademarked. “The day we
lost that ruling, Grove came by my office and said [the ad] money was
pretty much wasted,” Carter recalls, adding that the CEO gave him the
weekend “to figure what I would do about it.”
was to borrow the consumer-goods industry’s cooperative marketing model.
Intel ultimately put 3 percent of its revenue from microprocessor sales
into a fund that PC makers could tap to pay for up to half of their
advertising for promotion of Intel-based PCs bearing Intel’s logo.
define that logo, Intel commissioned a small ad agency that came up
with the tagline, “Intel, the computer inside.” In 1991, in The Wall
Street Journal, IBM ran one of the first ads with to use the now-iconic
shortened tag: “Intel Inside.” By the end of that year, 300 PC makers
had signed on to the program.
Click on image to enlarge.
Early IBM ad with Intel Inside logo
every third page was a PC ad with the Intel Inside logo,” says Carter.
As the logo “burned retinas,” PC ad revenues “went from tens to
literally to hundreds of millions of dollars. Sales teams that had
nothing to do with us were put together to figure out how to best use
the co-op money; we were creating a backdraft in the industry.”
copied the Intel Inside program “almost immediately with its Windows
logo,” Carter notes. “Disk drive companies tried to copy it, with
varying levels of success. All the different PC component makers tried
it. But we had the advantage of being first.”
With the 486, Intel
extended microprocessor advertising to television for the first time.
It turned up the volume on the TV dollars with the Pentium ad series,
the first to play Intel’s four-note audio signature as the Intel Inside
logo flashed on the screen.
A 2002 Harvard Business Review case
study noted that in 2001 alone, approximately 150 million Intel Inside
stickers were printed and more than $1.5 billion in Intel Inside
advertising was generated, making Intel, according to one ranking, “the
sixth most valuable brand in the world, alongside consumer powerhouses
such as Coke and Disney.”
Carter retired in 2000, leaving his
successors to figure out how to extend the concept to burgeoning areas
such as cell phones and embedded systems. With periodic tune-ups to
accommodate new classes of products and partners, the program is still