IBM'S LINUX SYSTEM HITS TIMES SQUARE

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- IBM Corp.'s love for the Linux operating system hits new heights in a print and outdoor ad campaign breaking this week. A six-story Times Square billboard -- one of the largest outdoor ad spaces in Manhattan -- emblazoned with Linux's penguin icon
Linux looms over Times Square.
along with peace and love symbols, marks the first wave of a new multimillion-dollar marketing effort supporting the free operating system that is gaining ground against Microsoft Corp.'s Windows platform.

IBM will tout the Linux message within its continuing "eServer" campaign, created by WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York, which handles all of Big Blue's advertising. Print ads in newspapers and magazines also hit next week, and additional billboards are planned for Silicon Valley. Following its U.S. launch, the campaign is slated to roll out in Europe and Asia.

'Up with Linux'
The Ogilvy creative team that developed the campaign chose simple symbols in order to portray a simple message: "Up with Linux," said Andy Berndt, senior partner and senior copywriter at Ogilvy. "We picked these icons because they summed up the spirit of the Linux community worldwide, which is sharing and helping others improve on what they do.

"The billboard on 42nd Street is absolutely positively a stake in the ground for IBM to say we believe in this thing so much that we'll find the biggest outdoor spot in New York City and put our position out there," Mr. Berndt said. "We're hoping the Linux community will be proud of that."

Print campaign hits in May
The second stage of the print campaign debuts in May. Mr. Berndt described the executions as "documentary-esque" and said they will capture how diverse users can work with Linux. One possible ad, for example, shows users contemplating Einstein's theory of relativity with the help of a cluster of servers running Linux. Other spots may portray users from "companies using Linux in a big way, to 15-year-olds to people who have been writing code for 20 years," Mr. Berndt said. The second wave of ads will also contain the peace, love and penguin symbols.

IBM already demonstrated its belief in the technology by making all of its server products Linux-enabled, with the exception of its I-series, which an IBM spokeswoman said will also be enabled in a couple of months.

IBM also plans a major e-mail marketing push to reach the open source community. Mr. Berndt said any plans for a TV campaign are still being determined.

Tobi Elkin contributed to this report.

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