HP Gives Away 'Artisanal Air' to Fuel Its Omen Gaming Laptop

W+K's trippy instructional video explains all

An empty aluminum can? There's no sweeter promotional item! Its cool cylindrical contours make me want to run right out and buy a $1,399.99 gaming laptop. Well played, HP!

The tech giant and Wieden+Kennedy Portland pump up the silly—to, like, a 12—by giving away cans filled with naught but air in support of its new Omen 16. To be clear, these aren't compressed air dusters for cleaning keyboards. They're just pretty cans with snazzy graphics, designed to tout the computer's state-of-art cooling system in a memorably entertaining way.

"That's the component of the laptop that sets it apart," W+K copywriter Will Curtis tells Muse. "We thought, you wouldn't let a Ferrari run on any old fuel, you'd give it premium fuel. So, you wouldn't want an Omen 16 to intake any old air. You'd want it to intake premium air!"

That last bit's a joke, of course. But such notions inform a trippy "instructional video" starring wiry actor Blaine Palmer. Dude's mind gets thoroughly blown once he takes a hit of fresh air—just like in that hippie song!

Instructional | Air by OMEN | OMEN

"Air—it's all around us," Palmer begins. "But some air is special. Some air is for gamers. And you're the proud owner of over .002 pounds of that air, in beautiful aluminum vessels."

He pronounces it al-u-min-yum, like a Brit. Classy!

"The layperson, a non-gamer, might think a can of Air by Omen is empty," he says. "Poor babies, they can't feel the truth. The truth is this can is absolutely filled to the brim with artisan, finely crafted air. You know what else is finely crafted? The Omen 16's Tempest Cooling System. Hmm!"

The psychedelic effects are appropriately ... psychedelic. And these product-focused :15s are pretty groovy, too:

And here's a :30 without Blaine, but rocking the same wacky vibe:

Sure, the concept's a stretch, but it's oddly on trend. Tito's vodka was all about empty containers a while back. Plus, just about every campaign from Liquid Death has been uncanny—and stylistically, HP's "Air" feels of like something LD would've tried. (Though the canned water brand would've added its trademark gratuitous profanity and comic gore.)

"The air conveys the quality of the Omen 16 in a much less direct way," Curtis says. "Instead of telling you how great the laptop is, we're showing you it's great because it necessitated the creation of special, artisan, premium air."

W+K turned to an old friend, freelance CD/filmmaker Mike Egan, to direct. A former agency staffer, he earned props in 2019 for "Bronzed," a 12-minute satirical film about spray tanning. With "Air," he manages to tell a coherent brand story amid all the weirdness.

"It all came down to figuring out the character," Egan says. "The Wieden folks and I went back and forth until we had a relatively rich portrait of who this guy is—I love a good weirdo. Doing all of that character work unleashed a firehose of new ideas that permeated the whole production. Blaine really bought into what we were trying to do and heightened it beautifully."

As the odd man himself proclaims to close the spot: "If you listen close, you may hear the Omen 16's fans whirling around that sweet, sweet, premium, handcrafted, bespoke, locally sourced, twice-aged, molecularly optimized, genetically enhanced, backwards-compatible, reoxygenized, whale blowhole blasted, doubly force-fed, quantum-balanced, uptake-infused, fresh-farmed, deoxyribose-compliant, sweet-smelling air that you just released from your can near its Tempest Cooling System. So, open your cans of premium gaming air anywhere you'd like. Anywhere. Even near an Omen 16 laptop."

What? Sorry I spaced. Must be sniffing too much air!

The work will run entirely online with a strong presence on social media.


ECDs: Ana Balarin, Hermeti Balarin, JP  
Creative Directors: Matt Sorell, Christen Brestrup, Bertie Scrase
Art Director: Liam Mckay
Copywriter: Will Curtis
Director of Production: Orlee Tatarka
Senior Producer Lead: Frank Brooks
Print Producer: Denise Hanggi
Creative Operations: David Ramirez, Sabrina Reddy
Design Producer/Print Producer: Scott Meisse
Designer: Olivia Budiono, Taylor Geick, Shyane Kybartas
Retoucher: Saska Thomson, Shay Platz
Strategic Planning: Indiana Matine, Katie Dyer
Media/Comms Planning: Alex Barwick
Account Team: Hannah Hewitt, Danny Sulivan, Kristin Postill, Courtney Bay, Valerie Fernandez, Jane Han, Corrie Williams   
Head of Business Affairs: Amber Lavender
Executive Business Affairs Manager: Teresa Lutz
Business Affairs Manager: Nicole Smith
Talent Payment: Tim Bell
Broadcast Traffic: Eric Nguyen
Copyediting: James Yu
Motion Lead: Adam Sirkin
Motion Producer: Cameron Blake

Production Company: Revery
Director: Mike Egan

Executive Producer: Davis Priestley
Line Producer: Brett Carlson
Director of Photography: Bobby Bukowski
Production Design/Art Direction: Ron Skrasek
1st AD: Kevin Bergquist

Editorial Company: JOINT
Editor: Eric Hill
Assistant Editor: CJ Duncan
Executive Producer: Kathleen Russell
Head of Production: Catherine Liu
Post Producer: Patrick Lewis

VFX Company: JOINT
Shoot Supervisor: Gavin Wright
2D Artists: Gavin Wright/ Kevin Alfoldy/ Ben Corbin/ Noah Poole
Executive Producer: Nirad ‘Bugs’ Russell
Head of Production: Catherine Liu
VFX Producer: Zai Outlaw, Lisa Calgaro

Company: JOINT
Colorist: Jasmine Vazquez
Color Producer: Zai Outlaw

Company: JOINT
Sound Design: Natalie Huizenga
Audio Engineer: Natalie Huizenga
Associate Audio Engineer: Candace Mortier
Executive Producer: Kathleen Russell
Head of Production: Catherine Liu
Audio Producer: Louise Woodward

Company: WK
Design: Taylor Geick
Digital Producer: Scott Meisse

Company: Premier Press
Design: Olivia Budiono
Design Producer: Scott Meisse
Print Producer: Denise Hanggi

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