The TV ad campaign, made with AKQA, features the slogan “Made to be less hated” and aims to highlight HP's printing solutions as more user-friendly compared to other brands.
Rather than directly criticising HP's printers, the ads depict consumers grappling with unnamed rival products, emphasising how HP's printers address various pain points.
In one scenario, a woman exasperatedly tosses her non-HP printer out of a window after a malfunction. A voiceover accompanies the scene, stating, "No more installation fails with the HP Smart app."
The campaign's tagline, "Made to be less hated," subtly conveys an acknowledgment that all printers, including those from HP, can be exasperating. Another ad captures a man silently expressing his frustration with his printer, uttering the words “I hate you,” as the device halts due to low ink. The scene then humorously shows the man kicking the printer off his desk, a relatable fantasy for many users.
Although HP's approach may be unconventional, the campaign appears to be resonating with European audiences. HP has reported that this campaign is its most successful to date. While the company has not provided immediate comments on whether the ad campaign will extend to the US, the ads have been circulating in Europe for some time, generating positive responses from viewers.
Featuring unexpectedly great acting, subtly strong camera work, and run times that make more impact because of their brevity, rather than despite it, it’s not hard to see why HP's new adverts became an instant hit.
You can picture the creative meeting ‘Eureka moment’ that must have given rise to this series.
Like most successful adverts, the team has hit upon a universally relatable concern: congratulations if you’ve got this far in life without wanting to take your existential rage out on a printing appliance.
Brands that take a step back, and realise their product is merely a useful and convenient addition to a person’s life, rather than something that defines them, play well in today’s cynical marketplace. Although we might add that HP sidesteps acknowledging the problems users have encountered with its printers: such as buggy firmware causing hardware malfunctions and restrictions on installing third-party ink cartridges.
This doesn’t stop the campaign from being a hit though, and we’re reminded of IKEA’s witty ‘Oh did you tap by mistake?’ campaign which acknowledged the visitor’s reluctance to intentionally visit their site via a banner ad.
Welcome to a fine lineage of ‘humble ads’, HP.
If you enjoyed this article, you can subscribe for free to our weekly email alert and receive a regular curation of the best creative campaigns by creatives themselves.