HP TV ads claim its printers are 'made to be less hated'

Apparently they're being serious

What's this? A tacit admission from Hewlett Packard that customers hate printer products?

If vegging in front of the idiot box is something you do to decompress after an afternoon spent fantasizing about going "Office Space" on your workplace's HP facilities, we suppose you might have caught a rare telly spot commissioned by the PC and printing giant.

Launched in the Nordics, Benelux, Ireland, and the UK, the ads insist that HP printers are "made to be less hated."

Which may come as news to HP's long-suffering users who still, for whatever reason, need to brand mushed-up trees with corporate nonsense despite this alleged digital age.

The three ads touch upon a spectrum of negative emotions that will be highly relatable to those who have ever tried to print something at home or work – sorrow, anger, despair – and all end with extreme and cathartic human-on-printer violence.

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"It's not fair," a stressed office worker protests, tears streaking her face. "I did everything you asked for – and now this. No."

She then defenestrates the printer to the supportive cries of a witness outside. "Well done!"

Meanwhile, the accompanying caption claims: "No more installations fails with the HP Smart app."

Now, wait a minute. Isn't HP Smart that unwanted and uninvited application that has been turning up on Windows 10 and 11 systems of late? Yes, it is!

Not only that, but it's renaming attached printers to "HP LaserJet M101-M106" regardless of whether or not they're HP products. We'll concede that this is very likely to be a Microsoft issue, but all the same it's not a great start if HP's mission is indeed to be "less hated."

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In another masterpiece of dark minimalism, our hero utters just three words, his voice quavering with fury. "I ... hate ... you," he tells the device, which indifferently bleeps a "low ink" warning.

He kicks the printer, which falls off his desk and clatters to the floor. HP then says: "No more low ink with HP ink solutions."

The Register wonders if the hapless worker's hatred would be softened somewhat if he had attended the recent UBS Global Technology conference, where HP chief financial officer Marie Myers gave a speech on how the company's Printing division margin has risen from 14.8 percent in fiscal 2020 to 18.9 percent in fiscal 2023.

"We absolutely see when you move a customer from that pure transactional model ... whether it's Instant Ink, plus adding on that paper, we sort of see a 20 percent uplift on the value of that customer because you're locking that person, committing to a longer-term relationship," she said.

Jeez, Marie, you're not supposed to say out loud that you're "locking" customers into services! Oh well, we're going to go with "no."

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The final spot sees a young gentleman, sweat beading on his brow, trying to improve the Wi-Fi signal to his printer by hoisting the beast above his head. He gets as far as the door outside his office or apartment when the power lead is pulled out.

He then dumps the device in the garbage, though we would have preferred to see him unceremoniously hurl it down the corridor. "No more reconnection hassle with HP's self-healing Wi-Fi," the caption winks.

We can't speak to such woes. This vulture long ago rid himself of printers – which, incidentally, were made by HP – and now lives a euphoric existence in the metaverse. If on the extremely rare occasion that we must print something, the other half has printers at her office. That's what they're there for, right? No need to buy ink that's dearer than Dom Pérignon that way.

According to More About Advertising and Marketing Communication News, the run has been hailed as the "most effective" and "most successful" campaign that HP has ever made.

Which just goes to show that if you are hated, own it. ®

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