Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Dell and the High Definition Lifestyle

As those following the PC industry know, Dell (DELL:Nasdaq) just launched a marketing initiative to go along with its new notebook PC’s and while it’s admirable that Dell is trying to shake things up, this new blitz is unlikely to do much for Dell’s middling brand equity. However, Dell’s communication skills are absolutely awful and instead of firing CEO Kevin Rollins, perhaps they should have dumped their entire public relations team. I hate to nitpick, but this company is simply treading water in a sea of mindless corporate babbling and bad poetry.

Dell kicked things off Tuesday with a seemingly Apple-inspired press event at Macy’s (M:NYSE) in New York showing off Dell’s new notebook PC’s, which are available in pretty colors like Ruby Red, Midnight Blue, and Zune Brown. Scratch that. Espresso Brown. Dell also whipped out the catchphrase “Yours Is Here” which probably means something akin to Burger King’s “Have It Your Way.”

“Yours Is Here” doesn’t do much for me, but I have to admit, the new Dell laptops are looking pretty nice. New features like mobile broadband, draft-n networking, integrated webcams, and complimentary online storage space will certainly appeal to a lot of PC shoppers, myself included.

Now let’s look at what Dell is doing on the communications side of this push by breaking down a statement by Alex Gruzen, senior vice president for Dell Consumer Products, who made the following statement: “We've packed these new Inspiron and XPS systems with features like mobile broadband, widescreen displays and colors choices to help customers experience the high definition lifestyle they seek.” Mobile broadband. That’s a good thing. Widescreen Display. Um, can’t remember seeing a laptop without a widescreen, so I guess Dell was wise to keep a widescreen display. Color Choices. That’s another good thing.

But what the hell is a high definition lifestyle? And how does one seek it? Honestly, I’d love to know. I now have a deep-seated fear that I am living a standard definition lifestyle, a situation that can only be rectified with a new Dell laptop featuring a widescreen display, preferable with a Zune, I mean Espresso brown finish. I’ll take it a step further. Let’s say the term “high definition lifestyle” can be defined. Who on Earth would ever say that phrase out loud? I’d kick myself in the ass if I ever said something that ridiculous.

Dell entitled that press release “Hued Have Thought It? Dell Notebooks in Flamingo Pink!” and the brain behinds the aforementioned drivel probably used the word irreverent several times while writing it. Frankly, the title reminds me of when Derek Zoolander said “I want people to know how funny I can be.”

Since there is a small chance that people from Dell are reading this, let me make a suggestion. Speak to people in ways they can understand. It’s not that hard, and you’ll save a ton of money on consultants and experts. Perhaps these same people came up with, and thus perhaps can be blamed for “Yours Is Here,” but in your heart of hearts, you how incredibly lame that sounds.

So I’ll throw out my suggestion for Dell’s next catchphrase – “my computer can beat up your computer.” Because while ridiculous, it doesn’t sound like the product of a big company’s PR department.