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IBM's Kennedy, Juniper Networks named 'Best'

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John Kennedy, VP-corporate marketing at IBM Corp., was recognized as BtoB's Top Marketer of 2010 at the BtoB's Best awards presentation, which took place Nov. 10 in New York. Garnering top ho nors as Best in Show was Juniper Networks, an information technology and computer networking company, for its “The New Network Is Here” campaign, developed with John McNeil Studio, Berkeley, Calif. Kennedy was tapped for BtoB's annual Top Marketer recognition for leading IBM's “Smarter Planet” campaign, an initiative showcasing the company's efforts to create global solutions in such areas as energy, healthcare and transportation. The campaign, developed with Ogilvy & Mather New York, used a mix of TV, print, online and social media. Kennedy was also recognized for his work in helping move perceptions of the company from its traditional IT focus to one concentrated on higher-value solutions and services. “It's an honor to accept this award for the entire IBM team,” Kennedy said, noting that the campaign transcended marketing. “[Being involved with] "Smarter Planet' has been a privilege and a rare chance to work on an effort that isn't a marketing campaign but a point of view on the world,” he said. “The IBM team will reflect back on this as a real height of our careers.” While in the past, the campaign offered views of how industries and enterprises can improve, offering a better quality of life, last year the campaign focused more on “Smarter Cities,” providing examples of how the company is helping municipalities improve in such areas as education, public safety and transportation. “October of 2008 was the perfect time to launch this particular campaign, when the world was ready to hear an optimistic message,” Kennedy said. And it was a great way to convey what IBM has been up to for 100 years.” This year marks the centennial of the company's incorporation. Juniper Networks' “The New Network Is Here” campaign aimed to compare the company's Junos network operating system, which spans routing, switching and security platforms, with its competitors, most prominently market leader Cisco Systems (although Cisco was never mentioned by name in the ads). Juniper Networks used teaser ads in The Wall Street Journal to drive prospects to a website that presented an old, worn-out computer bemoaning its inability to equal what a Junos-equipped system could do. “While a campaign based on comparisons is risky, in this case you can't really avoid it,” said John McNeil, president and chief creative officer of John McNeil Studio. “When you're competing against a 25-year incumbent, you need a new approach with a new way of thinking.” The integrated campaign also boosted the Juniper Networks brand. To help, the agency devised and set up a marketing-cum-art installation in a New York public park, featuring a large, clear cube filled with a jumble of old terminals and wires. Dubbed “The Hairball,” it represented antique technology and garnered lots of buzz, McNeil said. “Juniper has great products, but not a well-known brand,” he said. “They're a strong second, but just a strong second, and needed more than great technology.” Lauren Flaherty, exec VP-CMO at Juniper, said the campaign was developed to create “significant change.” “Our campaign was designed to do two things: Give us a thought leadership platform and showcase the differences in our approach, not only in software and hardware but in the whole thought processes around networking,” Flaherty said. A key element of Juniper's efforts, she added, was to “turn on the analyst machine,” working with key influencers and analysts to develop white papers on the economical benefits of Juniper's network. “This is a campaign with legs,” she said. “It enables us in a clear and simple way to show the difference between the old and the new.” Overall, BtoB's Best honored 25 marketing executives and 43 campaigns in such categories as integrated programs, print, direct mail, TV, online video, online only, out of home and trade shows.
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