HP Bend The Rules

The Hewlett-Packard Company was established in Palo Alto, California. Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard met in the 1930s at Stanford University. Many years after the two graduated, they decided to move to the Silicon Valley to start up a technology company. In a small garage the duo engineered various prototypes. They sold many different products to local businesses such as harmonica tuners, diathermy machines, and an electric eye for automatic flushing. However, their first big sale happened to be with Walt Disney. An audio oscillator was needed in Disney’s Fantasia. From this sale Hewlett-Packard earned a total of $538. This sale launched their company to be renamed and to move out of the garage to a more established headquarters. The headquarters remained in Palo Alto with Dave and Bill, and the addition of two employees. Now HP is known as one of the top computer companies in the world. The original HP garage headquarters still remains in Palo Alto. In 1987, the HP garage was declared the “Birthplace of Silicon Valley.”

HP Bend The Rules campaign first launched in early 2014. The campaign has continued into this year with an innovative launch this summer. HP teamed up with 180LA to promote HP’s new versatile laptop hybrid. The HP Pavilionx360, is designed to be a laptop and tablet combined with the ability to fold 360 degrees. For this Bend The Rules campaign, HP launched four main social media promotions. These promotions offer a unique aspect to set them apart from their competitors. The goal of this campaign is to do something that hasn’t been done before.

For the HP 2014 back to school campaign, #BendTheRules emerged. Pro Surfer, Ian Walsh, was on a journey to ride a wave he has never ridden before. The team created an interactive site, so users could be included in Walsh’s journey. The site used interactive voting with real time weather reports. Using storm and swell activity, users could vote where they thought the gnarliest wave was going to be. The biggest portion of this site was to encourage the use of the Bend The Rules hashtag. Users who used the hashtag could eventually be printed on Ian Walsh’s board. With the use of a robotic printer, Twitter and Instagram handles could be added to the surfboard. All the fans had to do is use the hashtag, and they would have the chance of being added to the surfboard. Together Ian Walsh and Taylor Steele set out to find the biggest wave. Ian Walsh found that wave on the coast of Southern Africa. With a last minute decision Ian Walsh decided to drive two hours down the South African coastline to a spot no one has ever surfed before. Filmmaker Taylor Steele and HP captured the entire experience, which resulted in the YouTube series of Ian Walsh. HP released a series of eight videos that followed Ian Walsh’s journey from beginning to end. Together the YouTube videos have over 19,000 views. HP was highly involved in this project, and it could easily be seen through the videos. In each video it shows how Ian Walsh is using the HP Pavilionx360 for weather reports and storm locations. The product placement in each video showed how effective the HP project was being. Showing Walsh use it, rather than a strategic product placement is better. People see Ian Walsh using the product efficiently and can view the product as reliable. This was a great introduction to the Bend The Rules campaign. It showed how adaptable the HP Pavilionx360 is by having a pro-surfer use it. Not only is Ian Walsh attempting something no one else has ever done, but HP as a company is attempting a unique social media campaign.


The second major Bend The Rules social media campaign set HP apart from other technology companies. For the 2014 holiday season HP partnered with singer Meghan Trainor, YouTube stars, and Vine stars. Together they created a unique music video. Instead of having all of the YouTube and Vine stars make cameos, they were actually involved in the music video process. Using the HP Pavilionx360 the Internet stars chose set designs, Meghan Trainor’s style, and dance choreography. During the shoot the social media stars posted all of their activities online, giving fans a behind the scenes look. Again using product placement for the HP Pavilionx360 to show its involvement in the music video. However, this time it was constant throughout the video. Before the video even launched the #BendTheRules content had over 25 million engagements. Much of that had to do with the social media superstars’ promotion. By having various people make cameos and show involvement, it brings a large amount of their fans to the music video. For example, Chachi Gonzales has over 700,000 Twitter followers, and Les Twins have over 100,000 Twitter followers. HP also had the lucky opportunity to partner with Meghan Trainor on her second career music video. She was just coming on her huge success from her song All about That Bass, and HP was able to capitalize on her second single. Involving stars with a high influence on social media can bring those users to your product. These stars were already promoting the video before it released. Offering behind the scenes content from social media stars is what allowed the fans to engage before the video was released. Having fans feel a form of exclusivity motivated them to push out content and geared promotion to video. “Two days after the music video launched, it had 2 million organic views- more than Meghan’s hit single “All About That Bass” got in its entire first month” (HP #BendTheRules). The Lips Are Movin video was a high success for the Bend The Rules campaign. The result of this video was HP’s YouTube channel subscriptions increasing by 48%.

Late in 2014, HP really did something innovative with social media. HP began to make a presence on Vine. Vine is a newer social media network that isn’t being taken advantage of for its marketing ability. HP began to partner with Vine stars to promote their Pavilionx360 in six-second videos. 180LA and Niche partnered together to help HP book five influential personalities to post HP content on Vine. One Viner, Robby Ayala, got 10 million views on one of his vines. After 180LA and HP realized the return they were getting on Vine, they decided to expand to television, exploring their productivity beyond just a social media campaign.

Their first TV ad had a Vine setting with each six-second video stringing together. Throughout each six-second video the HP Pavilionx360 travels to and from the multiple viners. That way the Pavilionx360 is the main focus and always present during the commercial. The Bend The Rules hashtag is also the other constant throughout the video. By doing that viewers know how to contribute to the campaign conversation. Also, since the commercial is on a complete Vine setting people can easily see the viners name. William Gelner (CCO of 180LA) explained, “We took a digital execution and brought it to TV. You usually see it the other way around.” The television ad aired on August 11th, and was posted to YouTube on August 8th. The YouTube video now has over 3 million views on it.

With the success of the pervious commercial HP tried to make another set of commercials. The commercial called Going Epic was published on YouTube on July 13, 2015. That was quickly followed by Going Epic 2 published in August. This was a TV commercial of the vines on a continuum, much liked the first one. Multiple Viners came together to perform incredible stunts while incorporating the Pavilion x360. The YouTube commercial didn’t have the same success as the first one, but the viners posted behind the scenes photos. Brodie Smith got almost 20 thousand likes for his Instagram picture on the Going Epic set. LeLe Pons got over 200 thousand likes on her Instagram post with her behind the scenes picture. The interesting thing about LeLe’s post is she encouraged people to check out HP’s Instagram page. Even though the commercial didn’t have the return that was wanted, it got good engagement from their spokespeople. Combined both the Going Epic commercials got under 500,000 YouTube views. That is still a lot of views for a video, but also we can’t measure how many people viewed the commercial on television.

Leleinstagram brodieinstagram

The fourth social media promotion is the most recent of the four. HP is an international company, which means they have to market globally. That is why HP India launched their Bend The Rules campaign in October of 2015. HP India decided to create a commercial to be televised. The YouTube video is about the changing aspects of business. A group of business men are in a coffee shop talking about a young man and his laptop. When they return to work for their meeting they find out the young man was in fact their very important business investor. They couldn’t believe such a young man could be so successful without an office and no business attire. The young man then says “I like your soch, but love my approach.” The point of this commercial was to show the progression of technology in business. Showing a young man utilizing technology to his advantage which has made him even more successful than the average business man. HP found that the Indian audience reacted very positive to the promotion. One of the most successful parts of their commercial was the actor. Shantanu Maheshwari is a young rising star in India. With only fourteen thousand Twitter followers, his fans bombarded the Bend The Rules hashtag. Many were so excited to see him appearing in the unique commercial. His Twitter fandom took up a huge part of the hashtag that the HP India contest was almost lost in their own hashtag. Shortly after the release of the commercial HP had an exclusive contest for Twitter followers. Using the Bend The Rules hashtag people would describe how they bend the rules, and they would have the chance to win a Pavilionx360. After the release of the commercial, #BendTheRules Twitter mentions were mainly Indian users. By doing this promotion HP has now expanded Bend The Rules to different parts of the world. HP has offices all around the world and can now continue expanding the Bend The Rules campaign.

Bend The Rules is a highly successful campaign because it’s marketing to a demographic reliant on technology. HP used demographic segmentation to split their market into distinct groups based on age. The goal was to target a younger demographic that is present in the shift toward greater technology. Using a new social media network, such as Vine, is going to reach more of the target audience. For Meghan Trainor’s All about That Bass video, HP reached their age demographic exponentially. 78% of the All about That Bass viewers were between the ages thirteen and thirty-four. That is well over half of the viewers from HP’s aimed demographic. HP’s YouTube channel visitors also grew 600% among thirteen to twenty-four year olds.

Age is a great marketing tool because it can be used globally. India is a developing country which means they have youth bulges. Developing countries, such as India, have vast amounts of children under the age of fifteen. Also developing countries are just now gaining technologic knowledge. This is because developing countries are introduced to technology through worker migration of the already developed countries. Bend The Rules works globally because of the different population trends around the world. It would be smart for HP to continue their work in the Asia region because of their population growth. “More than 60% of the world’s population ages 15 to 49 was in Asia in 2010” (Barak).

Geographic segmentation is focusing a targeted area to market to. HP doesn’t exactly have a geographic target because they are a global company. However, each office contributes to the Bend The Rules campaign in their desired way. HP has done a great job in expanding Bend The Rules to their other headquarters. It’s not a campaign exclusive to the United States. HP Europe held a contest to win a laptop with what they called an Inst Meet Up. Their Instagram followers met a team at the Eiffel Tower and participated in the contest. Then HP Europe posted a photo of that to about twelve thousand followers using #BendTheRules. Another strong component to their global connection is that other offices can show what other countries are doing. For example, HP Europe shared a photo on Instagram of the Meghan Trainor video. Which expanded the reach of that video further than just the United States. One thing I would do to improve these global office Instagram post is to translate them. Many of these HP international social media accounts post in English. To expand the geographical reach to a broader market would be to include those who don’t speak English.


Each of the four main promotional projects used in Bend The Rules all had one thing in common, they included popular people that were well liked. HP used a mean transfer model to help their brand and promotion of the Pavilionx360. The mean transfer model is when the consumer associates the meaning of the brand with the endorser (Tuten & Solomon). If HP would have picked controversial viners the campaign could have failed. Because even after the commercial is released, those viners are still in some way associated with the brand. HP India also made a good choice in choosing the popular actor that is well liked by the younger generation. HP India didn’t need to have a popular actor, but it helped HP because they then associated him with their brand. Also, HP wants positive internalization from its audience. Internalization is when members of the target audience accept the beliefs of the endorser (Tuten & Solomon). If at any chance they chose an endorser who had controversial beliefs, it would have hindered their promotion. HP wants consumers to focus on the promotion of their technology and not the endorser’s beliefs. That is why choosing endorsers can be tricky, but it can also benefit a promotional campaign.

I would call HP Bend The Rules a successful social media campaign. It has continued to be a successful campaign since its first appearance in 2014. Bend The Rules has included a lot of small projects through HP’s YouTube channel. They have given exposure to the people involved and to Bend The Rules. The four promotions I highlighted have been the most successful. Now HP is using Bend The Rules to promote its new laptop the HP x2. They are currently working with Star Wars, choreographers, and inventors. It is clear to see HP plans to continue Bend The Rules. It fits the concept of the laptop hybrids they are creating and generating engagement with the public. If they want to continue with Bend The Rules I would recommend continued use of multiple mediums. Bend The Rules spreads more by HP using YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, and Television. They could make more of a presence on Facebook, but the Facebook age demographic is widening. Possibly in the future HP can incorporate new social media networks to use as mediums. HP made the intelligent move to use Vine, which was a rising social media site. There are now new rising social networks such as Snapchat and Shots that have some potential for marketing.


Bend The Rules is an innovative and unique campaign. It is encouraging young people to change the rules of today’s world and explore their own innovative ways. HP adds pop culture into their campaign and that sparks the public’s interest. Companies strive to have successful social media campaigns like Bend The Rules. HP has found great success in Bend The Rules and it would be smart to continue with this campaign. The only way it would stop is if HP stops seeing the social media return on investment they’ve recently been getting. If HP continues to do small promotions through their social media, and then they do a few huge promotions like Going Epic it can continue to be successful. Of course continuing to do this HP will find ways to improve Bend The Rules, and spread it further than it already is.


Barak, Michalle E. Managing Diversity: Toward a Globally Inclusive Workplace. Sage Publications, 2014. Print.

Faw, Larissa. “HP Transforms Vine Videos Into A TV Ad.” Media Post. MediaPost Communications, 14 August 2014. Web. 26 October 2015.

“Founding HP.” HP. HP Development Company. Web. 26 October 2015.

HP Studios. “HP Presents: Going Epic with the HP x360.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 13 July 2015. Web. 20 October 2015.

“HP #BendTheRules.” B-Reel. B-Reel Creative. Web. 23 October 2015.

Tuten, Tracy L., and Michael R. Solomon. Social Media Marketing. Boston: Pearson, 2013. Print.

“#BendTheRules.” Shorty Awards. Sawhorse Media. Web. 23 October 2015.

HP Bend The Rules

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