Mixed messages

The headline on the first page in an issue of last week’s Wall Street Journal’s Marketplace section says: “ Hewlett-Packard to Lay Off 24,600 Workers.” The subhead leading into the article states: “Nearly half in U.S.; Firm Restructures After Buying EDS.” In the same section on page 5 is a nicely produced 4-color ad from EDS (an HP company) with the headline “Behind the freedom to worry less there’s our promises to do more.” Now that’s what I call nicely coordinated integrated communications — not! So HP corporate communications and their PR agency are dealing with this layoff story and making it sound nice to the analysts (and hoping to goes by quietly in the afterglow of the Lehman/Merrill Lynch blockbusters.) 24,600 people – the entire population of Norco, Ca, or Tzfat, Israel or Pittsford, NY out of work. While in the same issue, the EDS marketing team and their agency runs an ad touting how we provide great service to our clients – “Behind success there’s EDS.” I guess now they just gotta do it with fewer people. Timing is everything, sometimes.

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