Today (Thursday) sees the first signs of calming the economic jitters that have frozen launches of major international ad campaigns since the events of September 11.

Hewlett-Packard, in process of merger with Compaq Computer to form the globe’s second largest manufacturer of IT hardware, today launches a campaign scheduled to run across North America, Europe and Asia. Vaunting HP’s customer-oriented approach to IT infrastructure, all creative treatments feature the mantra: “Infrastructure. It starts with you.”

Created by Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco, and Publicis in London, the first of the ads appears in today’s Wall Street Journal, although campaign spend has not been revealed.

Another global giant to remove the ad fetters is Swiss pharmaceuticals manufacturer Novartis which fired-up its first US corporate campaign on Monday with a spend of $10 million. Having spent a year in the planning, however, following the terrorist attacks Novartis froze the launch in deference to the victims.

But after much agonising and careful weighing of the arguments, Novartis and its US agency, Ruder-Finn, decided to reinstate the campaign. Says Ruder-Finn chief creative officer Michael Schubert: “The ads are about celebrating life, which we thought was a very powerful message in light of all this.”

The ads, all full-page, carry a strapline at their foot stating that the company honors “the thousands of lives that were lost in the tragic attacks on September 11, 2001.” No mention is made of any Novartis brand.

News sources: Advertising Age - Daily Deadline; Wall Street Journal