As a student at Queens College in the mid-1980s, Addam Berger was pre-paring to become a professor of medieval Jewish history."I didn’t even know what a server was," he said. What a difference a decade or two can make.
Today, Berger, associate media director at OgilvyOne, New York, handles all online media buying for three of the world’s premier technology accounts—IBM Corporate, IBM Global Services and IBM Industries, the Armonk, N.Y.-based giant’s industry-specific arm.
"It’s been a fantastic ride," said Berger of handling IBM’s accounts, a contention, no doubt, helped by the fact that IBM is one of the few Fortune 500 companies currently boosting its ad budget. (IBM in March announced it was raising its ad budget by 10%, to $110 million; Berger wouldn’t disclose the size of the budgets he controls.) "They’re clearly a leader in the field, and sure, the budgets are nice, there’s no doubt about it," he said.
To help IBM achieve its goal—attracting big corporate clients—Berger often chooses smaller, niche-oriented sites over broader, general business content ones. For example, to tout IBM’s aeronautics unit, he recently placed a sponsorship on AviationNow.com, the Web site of Aviation Week & Space Technology, an award-winning trade magazine. "We’re finding these [niche] sites and the areas [within] those sites where the end users go," Berger said. "[Our target audiences] aren’t going to the broader sites."
Berger’s also obsessed with getting only prime online real estate for IBM, making sure that its ads aren’t lost between those of competing vendors. For example, he’s negotiated exclusivity deals with CNet Networks Inc. and New York Times Digital, the newspaper’s online version. The extra room brought on by exclusivity allows for rich-media campaigns to make IBM stand out even further. "We’re not competing with any other advertisers on the page, and they can also accommodate Flash and video," Berger said.
Before joining OgilvyOne in 1999 from a series of jobs both on the client and agency side, Berger went to night school in the mid-90s to get his network engineering degree, an experience he said was invaluable in building his media career. "I came in with the terminology that gave me a head start," he said.