The campaign, set to start today in the U.S. and late this month in other markets, is at the center of an aggressive turnaround plan built on new products, new branding, new management and a new agency.
"Our objective is to be the leader in this industry," said G. Richard Thoman, the IBM senior VP who oversees the personal computer business. "This is not a 100-meter dash. I wouldn't say it's a marathon that goes on forever. But it's a long-term race."
In the first half of 1994, IBM sank from second place to a disastrous fourth in U.S. PC shipments, behind Compaq Computer Corp., Apple Computer and Packard Bell Electronics, with just 7.9% of the market. That was its worst showing since entering the market in 1981.
Even Mr. Thoman acknowledges some setbacks are inevitable. For example, he said IBM seriously underestimated demand for the new Aptiva home PC, showing IBM still hasn't fixed a longtime supply-and-demand projection problem.
The new ad campaign-the first sweeping effort from Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York-is designed to begin rebuilding the IBM brand. The effort includes about $60 million in the U.S., making IBM the industry's top fourth-quarter spender.
IBM will run three 30-second brand-oriented spots on network and cable TV in the U.S. from now through Oct. 30, returning Nov. 21 to Dec. 18 with those spots and two new ones for Aptiva.
The TV spots create an icon out of comedian and actor Paul Reiser-literally. Mr. Reiser, appearing as an icon on a computer screen, prods the viewer, while supers drive home the FUD factor. The new theme line: "There is a difference. IBM."
IBM also is adding new media: Full PC product information is going on the Internet.
On the PC software front, IBM on Oct. 11 unveils a $50 million, fourth-quarter campaign for Warp, a new version of its OS/2 operating system.
Microsoft Corp.'s delay in getting Windows 95 out the door presents IBM with a now-or-never chance to make a move. IBM's media plan will include TV, print, radio, outdoor boards and ads in airports, via O&M.