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CDW Launches Brand Campaign During March Madness

'Orchestration by CDW' Features Stories About Retail, Healthcare, Education and IT

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Charles Barkley will not star in a new round of TV ads by CDW, which is launching a brand campaign tonight during the NCAA "March Madness" basketball tournament.

The campaign, called "Orchestration by CDW," was created by Ogilvy & Mather Chicago, and includes TV, digital, radio and print. The budget was undisclosed.

"We have used Charles since 2012," said Dean Lamb, director of marketing at CDW, referring to an integrated campaign starring basketball star Charles Barkley, who is hired as an IT director at fictitious company Gordon Taylor. The long-running campaign featured Mr. Barkley helping to solve IT challenges in humorous ways through the help of CDW.

"With Charles Barkley and Gordon Taylor, it was all about the IT department," Mr. Lamb said. "CDW is a global company, and we wanted to be able to tell more broadly some of the stories about not just the IT department, but about retail, healthcare and education."

"The objective of this campaign is really around a repositioning of CDW," he said. "We wanted to demonstrate our unique position in the marketplace. The core is to position CDW as a conductor of IT orchestration."

CDW is rolling out five different TV ads during the "March Madness" tournament, which show how CDW offers IT solutions through different partners, including Cisco, HP, Intel, Lenovo and VMware.

In one spot, called "CMO Crash," a CMO tries using a hoverboard to get around the office. He crashes over a railing and ends up in the hospital. The spot shows how CDW works with Lenovo to provide integrated healthcare systems for doctors and hospitals.

Another spot, called "Rocket Science," shows how CDW works with Intel to create collaboration tools for real rocket scientists.

A third spot, called "Meltdown," shows a movie star having a tantrum and throwing her shoe into the wall, which results in skyrocketing shoe sales. The spot shows how CDW works with VMware to develop data-center solutions for the retail industry.

"This campaign allowed us to tell stories in more vertical segments than what we were able to do in the past," Mr. Lamb said.

He said CDW decided to launch the rebranding effort during "March Madness" because "it's a broad audience and people are watching it on multiple screens -- not just TV but also digital."

The campaign also includes print ads, radio ads in select markets and print ads.