For the last two decades, Intel’s marketing has largely revolved around telling us that it’s technology was the magic inside many of our favorite digital tools and gadgets. If you listen closely enough, you might even hear it’s familiar chime tune in your head right now. At the start of this year, though, the brand relaunched with a new campaign that took the focus off what’s inside, and instead put the spotlight on what that tech allows you to do out in the world.
But in a sense, Intel’s marketing strategy still very much revolves around what’s inside. Even though the “Experience Amazing” campaign was done with agency Mcgarrybowen, the brand’s global creative director Teresa Herd has been building an internal creative advertising force to be reckoned with since joining the company in late 2014. It started with Agency Inside, an internal shop focused on telling the brand’s stories. But in 2015, Herd recruited agency production veteran Yogiraj Graham to start Intel Global Production Labs (IGPL)–essentially an internal commercial production unit. It’s a team of 40 spread across the U.S. and U.K., tasked with creating a high volume of TV, web, and social content for the Intel brand, including a slate of ambitious standalone documentaries.
“We outsourced the majority of our production, and I recognized the ability for us to tell really great stories, let people know what Intel was up to, in a way that external agencies can’t because they’re not here,” says Herd. “We have access to shape how technology gets used in things, so having a team that could execute the creative either coming out of that or helping people see what technology is in there, is really best told by a team that has the access we do. It wasn’t a consideration before I came, but I thought we had amazing stories to tell and I didn’t want to limit what we could do.”
Graham is a former director of original programming and acquisitions at Al Gore’s Current TV, and senior producer at top agencies like 72andsunny, CP&B, and Goodby Silverstein & Partners. He’s assembled a group of skilled specialists–directors of photography, editors, motion graphics artists, audio specialists–basically an internal production team that can take something from concept to delivery, but also partner with external production companies or groups of freelancers.
Another component of IGPL is forging partnerships with leading film and communication schools across the U.S., U.K., and Australia, to access young up and coming talent. The brand is working with about eight schools to recruit students to be a part of the global Intel production core, a group of six to eight students who will be a production unit working on real creative briefs. Two of these groups of students will be working within IGPL at any given time, with the first group starting in mid-June.
The latest work from IGPL is a pair of doc-style brand films that show how access to technology has made an impact on the lives of young innovators around the globe. The first profiles Jessica Orji, a young woman from Lagos, Nigeria, who believed the Internet “was a man’s world,” until she attended a computer course through Intel’ #SheWillConnect program, where she learned how to grow her hairdressing business. In the second film, we meet 16-year-old Caroline Wambui from Nairobi, Kenya, who learned how to use the Intel XDK coding language, and collaborated with fellow classmates to create an organ donor app.
“Bringing in the caliber of the people we’re bringing in is giving us the ability to tell amazing stories and bring the brand to life,” says Herd. “And all this was happening while we were rebranding Intel. A lot of the stories Yogi’s team have put together, the latest being these social impact films, I don’t think people associate us with stories like this. No disrespect to the work created prior, but it was always done with external agencies, and it’s not just creative, there are cost savings in doing it this way, while not compromising the quality.”
For Herd, the challenge isn’t finding stories, but telling them in a way that will engage, entertain and inform people about the brand’s work. “There are very few brands that can actually tell stories across such a broad spectrum,” she says. “Not to brag, but we really do power so much, that I didn’t even realize when I first got here, but soon realized that we have to be telling more of these stories. Whether it’s on the backend in data centers or Internet of Things, the opportunities for stories are tremendous.”
And in order to tell these stories, the brand’s investment in its internal creative capability will keep growing. “We’re going to continue to ramp up,” says Herd. “I don’t think we’ll ever have all of our work internally, because those agency partnerships keep us innovating, but we are planning on bringing a significant amount of work in-house.”