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Photos: Intel ad campaign pokes fun at self

Company's new marketing campaign uses self-effacing humor in a quest for consumers' goodwill.

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Natalie Weinstein
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Rock stars ad

Intel kicks off a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign on Monday. Unlike its previous campaigns, which have focused on specific products such as chips, this one spotlights the brand as a whole.

The three-year campaign is taking a tongue-in-cheek approach and sells itself as offering an insider's view on the company culture.

This rock star ad, for example, takes the nerds-are-cool tack, though the rockers on the left seem more along the lines of Spinal Tap than Coldplay.

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Oops ad

In this TV ad, Intel is set to unveil a new chip. Suddenly, someone drops it, and employees and reporters must scour the floor for it. "Our big ideas aren't like your big ideas," the ad states.

Unlike Mac vs. PC ads (and vice versa), Intel is not (at least for now) taking on its main competitor--Advanced Micro Devices. Maybe that's because chips don't have "personalities" like computers apparently do. Or maybe no one could figure out which pair of comedians could play an Intel chip and an AMD chip.

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Clen room ad

Hopefully, this little girl is dreaming of becoming a well-paid engineer when she grows up.
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Ajay Bhatt ad

In some of Intel's TV commercials, employees are shown fawning over co-workers. In this spot, Intel groupies are drooling over Ajay Bhatt, co-inventor of USB. Bhatt does, indeed, exist. However, the employees portrayed in the ads are all actors.

"Several of the engineers we're personifying confided that acting isn't within their comfort zone," Sandra Lopez, Intel's global consumer marketing manager, said in a statement.

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Real Ajay Bhatt

This is the real Ajay Bhatt.
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Intel former campaign

Intel's best-known marketing campaign has been "Intel inside," which began in the 1990s. The new slogan is broader: "Sponsors of Tomorrow." The campaign will start in the U.S., the U.K., and Germany and then expand to two dozen more countries.

So what's Intel doing spending money on humorous marketing during a recession? Apparently, co-founder Gordon Moore always encouraged spending during tough economic times. "His whole view was you should invest during the recession so when you come out of it, you're in a leadership position, not two steps behind," Deborah Conrad, Intel's vice president of corporate marketing, told The New York Times.

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