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Best & Brightest Media Strategists: David Rittenhouse

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Soon after David Rittenhouse returned to mOne's New York headquarters last December as group planning director following a four-year stint in the agency's London office, client IBM Corp. asked him to compile a report on the state of interactive media and advertising in the U.S.

The report provided valuable information about IBM's target market of software buyers working for large enterprises, but perhaps more important, listed numerous technology trends, such as podcasting, that the company could use to better reach that audience.

"I realized that there were some fairly good opportunities that we could use to improve the work we were doing," Rittenhouse said.

The 2005 U.S. Tennis Open gave him a chance to put that knowledge to use, serving up a new online ad campaign. A large share of the advertising was on the official site of the U.S. Open. A banner ad carried live scores, tournament statistics and a podcast featuring former U.S. Open champion Tracy Austin. In the podcast, an MP3 file downloadable from the banner, Austin talked about the real-time information technology IBM uses to deliver point-by-point scores on the tournament site.

The online campaign, which was augmented by IBM signage throughout the U.S. Open venue, targeted senior executives.

"IBM knows that business decision-makers attend these events, so we can reach them in a physical environment," Rittenhouse said, adding that 600,000 people attend the two-week event. "But we also want to reach those who are following the coverage closely online."

In addition, IBM placed messaging about the technology used in the U.S. Open on several sports and news Webs sites, including CNN.com, Economist.com, ESPN.com, Forbes.com and NYTimes.com. Rittenhouse said the ad campaign more than doubled the amount of online impressions generated in a similar campaign in 2004.

Rittenhouse said he's already gotten signals from IBM's media and marketing managers that they are eager to pump up their digital media investment to include more video files, RSS feeds and search tools.

--Carol Krol

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