Dell plans ad makeover to shed low-price image

NEW YORK Thu Oct 21, 2010 6:12am EDT

Dell founder and CEO Michael Dell delivers his keynote address at Oracle Open World in San Francisco, California September 22, 2010. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Dell founder and CEO Michael Dell delivers his keynote address at Oracle Open World in San Francisco, California September 22, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Robert Galbraith

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Dell Inc is getting a marketing makeover, trying to shed its image as a cheaper alternative to rivals, including the sleek and highly popular gadgets sold by Apple Inc.

The world's No. 2 PC maker said on Wednesday it will spend "hundreds and hundreds of millions" on an advertising campaign for its consumer business, to coincide with the launch of new products, including laptops with JBL speakers.

"We're going to stop mentioning price as the single important aspect," said Paul-Henri Ferrand, chief marketing officer for Dell's global consumer, and small and medium business division.

He said the company wanted to emphasize it had premium products, as well as cheaper options. He declined to elaborate on exactly how much the company was paying for the global advertising campaign.

Details of the new products, which will include a small laptop that converts into a 10-inch tablet computer, as well as smaller tablet devices, are due to be released on Monday.

The launch comes after Apple CEO Steve Jobs recently dismissed rivals' smaller tablets, saying: "The current crop of 7-inch tablets are going to be DOA, dead on arrival."

Steve Felice, president of the global consumer and small and medium business division, fought back.

"Apple is known for dictating what's going to happen in the market place and what a consumer should buy. We're at the opposite end of the spectrum, emphasizing customer choice," he said. "It's a bit premature to tell customers what they're going to like and what they don't like."

(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; editing by Andre Grenon)

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