"The thought was that IBM has this amazing breadth of capabilities," said Andy Berndt, group creative director of Ogilvy & Mather, New York, which created the campaign. "With all its resources, IBM can sit down with clients and help them figure out a solution to their problem. Some people still think of IBM as just a server maker only."
To underscore the company's ability to deliver value-added services to a customer, IBM cleverly used the metaphor of a help desk across its TV, print and interactive executions. The first phase of the integrated campaign spoke generally about how IBM can help the world at large, while the second phase focused on more industry- or customer-specific solutions. Both phases targeted business decision-makers.
The print pieces featured several stunningly beautiful photographs of landscapes. The visual magnetism of the ads stops readers in their tracks. Stylized help desk stickers were applied to each to set up a problem-solution scenario. In a piece dubbed "Beach," the sticker describes how a swimsuit retailer needs help forecasting what suits will be hot sellers. The solution, as stated on the sticker, is a low-cost supply chain system from IBM to help predict demand and adjust inventory.
"The help desk ticket was a quick problem-solution metaphor that allowed us to go more in-depth on how IBM solves a problem," said Jeff Curry, a creative director at Ogilvy.
The TV spots had a wry, sometimes comic tone. The help desks appear in improbable places, such as a golf course where a group of scientists needs help after its solar-powered golf cart runs amok, or in the middle of a highway where a semitrailer skids to a halt to learn how IBM can assist with logistics.
The centerpiece of the superbly interactive component is an online execution featuring a large white room with classical columns the creative team dubbed "white heaven" because of its almost dreamlike state. Greg Kaplan, an Ogilvy creative director who coordinated the interactive work, said visitors to the help desk site encountered a number of industry-specific scenarios in which the IBM help desk representative devised a solution.
The BtoB judges were impressed with the ambitious degree of integration of the campaign. "We have gotten a lot better at integrating campaigns," Kaplan said. "We live it and breathe it on a daily basis." M