IBM Global Services is running a series of ads in foreign languages with no translation, trying the unusual strategy to illustrate the company's strong international position.
The one-time effort, in Time's "Heroes & Icons" issue out this week, consists of five consecutive right-hand pages -- one ad each in English, French, German and Japanese, with a wrap-up ad in English. It also bought four pages internationally.
The pages are direct lifts of regional ads in a $75 million worldwide campaign featuring stark photos and short copy explaining the jobs of some of the service organization's diverse employees.
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The ads were done by Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide's New York, Paris, Stuttgart and Tokyo offices. IBM declined to disclose what it paid. The one-time, single-page rate in the U.S. is $176,000, and $165,292 abroad.
IBM Global Services, the world's largest computer services operation, generated more than half its $29 billion in revenues last year from outside the U.S.
Phil Juliano, the division's VP-brand and market management, said the unusual ad approach is intended to break through in a category where ads are filled with claims of global capabilities.
"We think the way to say you're global is by being global," Mr. Juliano said. "We look at these as proof points of that . . . [the execution] makes the point that this is an international company with capabilities around the world."
In a way, the ads are a twist on IBM's celebrated mid-'90s "subtitles" TV brand campaign -- except that the new effort offers no translation.
"Sometimes you have to experiment a little, outside the box," Mr. Juliano said.
If IBM gets a good read on its multilingual messages, he said, it will consider