Dr. Dre for HP? Put the Mac Down, Dre Says

You can't spell hip-hop without "HP"

By Scott Budman
|  Monday, Mar 15, 2010  |  Updated 12:30 PM CDT
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Raise your Ipaqs if you love hip-hop.

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Hewlett Packard just launched a new $40 million ad campaign in Dr. Dre's studio. The message: Dre wants you to put the Mac down.

As in, Macintosh.  As in, let's get some of those cool, urban, music-loving computer users away from the hip MacBooks, and into Best Buy and Walmart to buy HP computers instead.

The hope is to convince computer shoppers that they need an HP laptop to get the job done, just like Dre.

If your first thought is, "How can HP even claim to be cool?," consider that Jay-Z recently stumped for the Palo Alto company, and it's been a strong four years for HP sales and investors since then. But since HP is aleady No. 1, can Dre Day meaningfully boost its bottom line?

"There is no artist Apple can get to counter this," says Adisa Banjoko, whose blog, "Beyond Urban Branding" tracks urban ad trends.  "Check and mate." 

But is Dre even the best hip-hop artist for the job? He's still arguably among the best-known in the business.  He's still making records and producing successful acts.  He's not in the headlines for anything negative, a la Lil' Wayne.  And, as we recently saw in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show, he still draws a big crowd.

Apple can take a bow for making the link between technology and music hip.  HP would love to get some of that hipness for its own machines.  If Dre can make an HP laptop cool, can printers be far behind?

Scott loves the fact that you can't spell "hip-hop" without "HP."

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