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Eccentric genius from Intel

Oh those crazy guys from Intel. A few months ago a colleague forwarded me a video link showing a group of Intel employees from Finland wanting to make the world’s biggest Intel ‘chime’, by firing themselves as human cannonballs at an enormous xylophone. It didn’t exactly make me laugh, but it did make me wonder if the stunt was real – it looked fake but the scenario was convincing, as were the protagonists.

So when a different colleague sent me another ‘world’s biggest Intel chime’ link last week, I clicked on it straight away. This time, the video claims to come from Intel employees in Romania, who are seeking to outdo their Finnish colleagues by creating an even bigger chime, this time using base jumpers who freefall onto giant crash mats, which release the relevant notes that make up the chime. Rather than a standalone video, this link was to a microsite that includes related content such as a ‘backstory’ interviewing some of the engineers taking part and lots of excitement from the ‘anchor’ called Iulian (a clichéd but endearing Eastern European geek).

The second stunt looks marginally less likely to be a CGI fabrication… but only marginally. The point is, by now, I no longer care whether it’s real or not. I’m bought into the brand scenario that Intel is staffed by crazy engineers whose aim in life is to break barriers and do amazing new things – be that in terms of processor development or ridiculous stunts. And it all ties in with the Intel ‘dum-dum-dum-dum!’ chime or audio brand signature which, for once, isn’t driving me to distraction by breaking through PC World TV ads.

It is pure, unadulterated genius – not often you can say that in B2B. The fact that it’s gone viral is interesting, because strictly speaking it’s neither funny nor important, which are the two criteria that usually determine viral potential. It’s kind of a cross between the two: interesting, but in an odd way. But I’m not knocking it: well done Intel.