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To fight iPad, HP reaches for Russell Brand

To advertise its not yet critically acclaimed TouchPad, HP creates a series of irreverent videos with Russell Brand.

What do you do to dethrone the iPad?

Well, you could simply make a device that is so obviously better that people stream to your doors like raccoons to the garbage.

If that doesn't quite work, you could release a good product, call it the TouchPad, and tell people that the iPad isn't your competition at all because you're really after the enterprise customer.

Just in case that doesn't convince everyone, reach for one more resort: make them laugh.

I am grateful to the Silicon Alley Insider for revealing that HP has, indeed, gone for the laughs. HP, which has managed to create one or two very good ads in its time, has reached for Russell Brand to make a series of short videos, each one about a different aspect of its new, non-iPad-competing tablet.

Now some people find Russell Brand very, very funny. He does manage to express the essence of straight-faced medieval English bawdiness, without sounding overly intelligent.

However, as you run through these various videos, you must decide whether this is the Brand of "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" or the one that managed to remake "Arthur" into oblivion.

The relatively uninitiated will enjoy the Touch to Share feature--the ability to touch the screen with your phone and download data. Others might be less amused that in the multitasking video, there is actually a butler joke.

Will these videos lift the perception of the TouchPad among those normal consumers who are thinking of disappearing into the iPad eco-world?

Oh, wait, the TouchPad's target is the enterprise customer, right? That's why Russell Brand is advertising it.