Friday, May 02, 2003

HP caught birdwatching in Finland

HP is the multinational company created by the May 2002 merger of Hewlett-Packard and Compaq Computer Corporation.

For whatever reason, HP has been recently lavishing advertising money at the print media, or at least on the broadsheet national paper. The Australian has lately been running a series of three, full-colour, full-page ads for HP. Presumably, you would think that HP had something new to launch (or something important to say, a la the TGA) in order to justify such a sustained, large scale, campaign. Err, no. A glance at the pic-heavy ads reveals them to be of the “status quo boast” ilk; a.k.a. “We’re good, and we’re taking this opportunity to remind you of this fact”. One full-page of the ad triptych extolled HP in terms of’s fulfilment system, another extolled HP in terms of Fed Ex’s parcel tracking system, while the third had something to do with Finland and birdwatchers.

Apart from the ads’ sheer cost and mundanity of message, their lack of local relevance left me wondering. is well-enough known in Australia, but it is not an everyday consumer destination or otherwise an icon. Fed Ex isn’t even a major player in the Australian freight scene, as far as I am aware. And in any case, HP’s Australian Press Releases section online has seen nothing fit to announce – even on the virtually cost-free platform that the Internet allows – since 19 March 2003.

It was all a bit of a mystery, then – until I saw a small story in the business section of today’s Australian*(no URL). The story’s gist is that HP is outsourcing some of its Australian operations to India – so affecting 128 jobs according to HP itself, or 240 jobs according to The Australian’s source.

Hmmn. Am I (i) being naïve, or (ii) bristling with innuendo, by suggesting that HP could surely have better spent the small fortune so recently lavished on the print media for more productive purposes, given the dire cost-cutting actions it is now undertaking? All those pretty ads surely couldn’t distract media attention away from the real story?

* “HP ‘final solution’ transports jobs to India”, by Ron Hicks and James Riley.

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