Lenovo goes to the movies in premium branding push

Chinese technology firm aims to reach out to youth audience by featuring its range of products in films and television series

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 April, 2013, 4:51am

Lenovo appears ready for its close-up, with the mainland technology giant planning new marketing campaigns to place key products in various films and television shows this year.

Lenovo chief marketing officer David Roman, said investing in the high-profile branding initiative was part of Lenovo's goal to create a premium global brand "that resonates with our target youth audience" and to become known as "the world's leading personal technology company".

"One thing that is helping us do these [campaigns] now is our great-looking products," Roman told the South China Morning Post. "We're working in partnerships with production houses who want our technology."

Roman, who declined to announce any specific projects, said film and television product placements would showcase the company's latest personal computers, smartphones, media tablets, and its soon-to-be launched "table computers".

He said Lenovo's new IdeaCentre Horizon table computer, which will sell from early this summer for US$1,699, was the kind of "innovative product placement we're trying to do because it is interesting".

The device, which has a 27-inch multi-touch display and Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system, can be adjusted upright at a 90-degree angle for use as an all-in-one desktop computer, with separate keyboard and mouse.

One of Lenovo's high-profile product placements was in the 2011 Hollywood blockbuster, Transformers: Dark of the Moon. The movie introduced a new character called Brains, which transforms into a ThinkPad Edge Plus laptop.

Roman said Lenovo would remain selective in these endeavours and preferred "a bigger involvement" similar to its Transformers campaign. "In some countries, like India, we're looking at local TV and movie product placements," he said.

"We want to change the perception of being a market leader in PCs, which we clearly are, to becoming a major leader and innovator in the 'PC-plus' space." Lenovo formed its mobile internet and digital home (MIDH) division in January 2011 to compete in smartphones, media tablets, internet-linked "smart" TVs and other devices.

To support that expansion, Lenovo completed a restructuring into two business units on April 1. The firm's mainstream consumer and commercial Idea-brand products now fall under its Lenovo Business Group.

The premium Think-brand products are under the Think Business Group. Think is the flagship brand acquired by Lenovo when it bought the personal computer division of International Business Machines for US$1.75 billion in 2005. "A lot of the ThinkPad products really command premium prices in the commercial space. But we haven't really done that in the consumer space," Roman said.

Alberto Moel, a senior analyst at Bernstein Research, said: "The growth engines for Lenovo over the last couple of years have been acquisitions and the MIDH division."