Case | HBS Case Collection | December 1994

Intel's Pentium: When the Chips Are Down (A)

by Stephen A. Greyser and Norman Klein

Abstract

Intel, the largest-selling manufacturer of microprocessor computer chips, finds itself in a brand-threatening situation when a flaw is revealed in its top-of-the-line Pentium chip. The story is front-page news for weeks. The company invested tens of millions of dollars in advertising its branded Pentium chip as a high-quality component via the campaign slogan "Intel Inside." Issues include salience of the problem, when Intel knew of the problem, how it was revealed, and what actions should be undertaken. Teaching Purpose: Students analyze consequences of a company miscue that becomes a much bigger story than initially anticipated. Analogies may be made to other company crisis situations involving brands and communications.

Keywords: Advertising; Engineering; Crisis Management; Brands and Branding; Production; Failure; Semiconductor Industry;

Citation:

Greyser, Stephen A., and Norman Klein. "Intel's Pentium: When the Chips Are Down (A)." Harvard Business School Case 595-058, December 1994.