When Ashton Kutcher Met Lenovo

IMG_3570This is the second post following up on the MATI article I published two weeks ago. This time I’m going to talk about the speech given by David Roman, the CMO of Lenovo. David shared the story behind Lenovo’s Yoga Tablet launch. What I found most interesting about their approach was that work on the campaign started during the very early stages of the product’s development. It’s not often that the marketing department is allowed to step in at such an early stage; I believe that this case study showed it to be a very productive and smart move.

Lenovo’s objective was to grab the attention of the younger generation. To achieve this, they started out with the classic – get a young, celebrity presenter to showcase your product. They recruited Ashton Kutcher as his personality was one appreciated by young, hip audiences, and who goes crazy for new technology? You got it! The young and hip! After Kutcher’s appointment, however, Lenovo took it in a whole new direction:

Ashton as a Product Manager @ Lenovo

Ashton Kutcher was hired as an employee of Lenovo and was involved in designing the Yoga Tablet, including its features, UX and its physical appearance. Throughout the design process, he took to Twitter to share regular updates about the experience with his followers. This allowed an ongoing buzz to build around the product even though it wasn’t due to be released for several months.


David Roman said that their biggest challenge was to keep this process as authentic as possible. The younger audience is smart and will not be fooled by PR stunts. The only way to do this was to create the tablet according to its target audience needs.

About a month before the launch, once the general design was ready, Lenovo started a campaign which asked people to share weird ways of standing up their tablet. Here’s one example:

This created quite a buzz around the product and set the scene for Lenovo to reveal one of the most innovative features of the tablet – its own built-in stand.

Of course, the Yoga Tablet couldn’t rely on just a stand to mark itself out as innovative and exciting. Another unique feature is that the battery lasts for a staggering 18 hours. Nonetheless, Lenovo chose to concentrate on the built-in stand for creating their buzz. I wonder how well their campaign would have fared if they’d chosen the battery’s lifespan as their main promoted feature.

They finally launched the Yoga Tablet in an event that was livestreamed across the globe using their YouTube channel:

Ashton continues to promote the Yoga Tablet in the media through interviews and commercials such as this one:

Lenovo gets my personal Thumbs up thanks to their:

  • Out of the box thinking – accepting product advice from an outsider.
  • Bold move – they wanted authenticity and stuck to this principle.
  • Planning ahead – it’s clear that Lenovo thoroughly planned this campaign from the first announcement about hiring Ashton, through to the teaser trailers and, finally, with the follow up adverts.
  • Consistency – Lenovo adopted a clear concept and tone which they maintained all the way through their campaign.

About the Author -

Natalie Halimi is the Head of Marketing Communications & Education at SimilarWeb. With over 10 years of experience in marketing, Natalie has promoted services and products in the B2C and B2B arenas, in various industries.

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