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IBM Launches Updated Smarter Planet Effort During Masters

50-Plus Ad Spots Showcase What Other Companies Made With Its Technology

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IBM is using the Masters golf tournament to launch the next phase of its Smarter Planet campaign. Over the course of five days, the company is airing more than 50 individual spots. But you better pay attention: They're only airing once.

Known as "Made With IBM," the effort showcases what other companies have made using IBM technology. Each spot is numbered with a "bump" at the end promoting the next one to watch. (Digital versions of the ads don't have that feature.) The campaign includes a mix of 30-second and 60-second spots and will air on CBS and ESPN.

In addition to TV, IBM will push the campaign through digital and social outreach (#MadeWithIBM), print, a microsite and out-of-home later in the year.

IBM spent $118 million on measured media last year, down 17% from 2012, according to Kantar Media. The company ranks 89th on Ad Age's Leading National Advertiser's Report. IBM declined to comment on the budget for the campaign.

Along with long-time agency Ogilvy & Mather, IBM commissioned three crews of filmmakers and journalists for the project. Ogilvy only began filming the spots a month ago. The crews took a two-week road trip across 17 countries and three continents, shooting video and stills. The assignment involved interviews with CEOs, creative directors, programmers and industry experts.

"Smarter Planet is still our point of view on the world, but now it's about the 'how,' showing people are literally making value in new ways with IBM technology," said Ann Rubin, IBM's VP-branded content and global creative. "This isn't rebranding, it's about taking Smarter Planet to the next level."

IBM, which launched Smarter Planet six years ago, is one of only three TV advertisers during the tournament. Ms. Rubin said it chose to sponsor the Masters because of its "loyal, targeted audience." Mercedes and AT&T will also be running ads.

"There had been a lot of conversation about the continuing way we bring IBM to the world. This latest idea happened from a conversation in a room one night about, rather than showing one ad 50 times, what about showing 50 ads one time?" said Jeremy Kuhn, Ogilvy's global group director for IBM. "It helped that there were limited advertisers [during the Masters], so it allowed us to do something like this."

Mr. Kuhn noted the agency shot and edited over 60 spots in case they needed to air more due to weather-related or programming delays during the live event.

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