The MTV show 'Pimp My Ride' has brought indescribable joy to many owners of beat-up cars, and Microsoft and Hewlett Packard are hoping to do the same for businesses with outdated PCs and servers.
Microsoft and HP's new "Pimp My Infrastructure" contest, which launched Wednesday and runs through October 20, seeks to identify small- and mid-sized businesses in desperate need of an IT infrastructure makeover, and will include prizes for the VARs that serve the winning businesses.
The contest includes an hilarious video in which an IT administrator named Harold has his sluggish, outdated infrastructure revamped with a combination of Microsoft's Windows Essentials Business Server 2008 and HP's BladeSystem c3000 solution, a.k.a. 'The Shortie.'
In the entry form, contestants must make a convincing case for why their infrastructure needs to be pimped. Microsoft and HP will choose two most pimp-worthy businesses on Oct. 21 and will announce winners on Nov. 12.
One mid-size business Grand Prize winner will win a $36,293 computer infrastructure upgrade that includes: four HP ProLiant BL465c server blades; one HP BladeSystem c3000 Tower; one HP StorageWorks SB40c storage blade; one HP BLc Bnt 1GbE2 Switch Opt Kit; sixteen HP 146GB hard drives; one license of Windows Essential Business Server 2008 Premium with five (5) Client Access Licenses; five HP desktop or laptop PCs; and an HP printer.
One small business Grand Prize winner will win a $16,250 computer infrastructure upgrade that includes: two HP ProLiant DL385 Servers with AMD Opteron processors; one Rack S10614 cabinet; two HP Compaq 2710p Notebook PCs; two HP iPAQ 910 Business Messengers; one license of Windows Small Business Server 2008 Premium which includes five (5) Client Access Licenses; two licensed copies of Microsoft Office 2007; and an HP printer.
The Pimp My Infrastructure contest also has a channel angle: The VARs associated with each winning business will win $5,000 of HP products.
Sometimes, the most creative marketing ideas are a spin-off of somebody else's idea, and this is no exception, says Mark Crall, president of Charlotte Tech Care Team, a solution provider in Charlotte, N.C.
"HP used some very creative thinking over the past year with their ROK (Reseller Option Kit) campaign, in which they captured us in private rooms during various channel events with Guitar Hero face-off competitions in an effort to expand their partner program," said Crall. "This contest is compelling, creative, edgy yet tactful and sure to be a hit."