H-P to Brandish Its Technology Credentials

In need of an image makeover after an aggressive acquisition spree, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) is launching its first corporate advertising campaign in more than five years.

The company, which consumers know primarily for its printers, says it is seeking to recast itself as a broader technology concern with a campaign featuring, among others, rapper Dr. Dre and stand-up comedian Rhys Darby, star of the HBO series “Flight of the Conchords.” A person familiar with the matter estimated that the eight-week campaign will cost $40 million.

“Most people think we are just a printer company,” says Michael Mendenhall, H-P’s chief marketing officer.

Over the past few years, however, Chief Executive Mark Hurd has tried to make H-P less dependent on printing by snapping up companies like Electronic Data Systems and network-equipment maker 3Com. Its new businesses have put the company squarely in the cross hairs of rivals like Cisco Systems (CSCO) and International Business Machines (IBM).

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