Oracle positions itself as e-business solution

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Oracle Corp. today launches the first phase of a TV campaign, via Grey Advertising, New York, that deliberately mimics archrival Microsoft Corp.'s message.

The initial flight of TV advertising, which runs through May, is a component of Oracle's $100 million global branding campaign begun in November that promotes the company's end-to-end software solutions for e-businesses. Print, radio, outdoor and airport advertising kicked off then and are continuing in heavy rotation.

"[The campaign is] a simple, direct message that our competitors can't tell," said Greg Jorgenson, VP-worldwide marketing. "Our e-business suite covers everything, it's plug-and-play, one-stop shopping, no integrators or consultants are needed."

The campaign differs from last year's customer-focused effort, which showed individual customers' successes using Oracle products.

BUILDING TV ON PRINT ADS

The estimated $10 million media flight opens with two 15-second TV spots that build on the fact-based, bold headline-style of Oracle's print ads. TV creative adds computer-generated graphics.

In one spot, voice-over says, "In the new Internet economy, 96% of the Fortune e50 run Oracle. Oracle software powers the Internet."

Another suggests e-companies in the know run Oracle software, with voice-over stating: "Companies that know the Internet best know where the business Internet really starts. Ninety-six percent of USA Today's e-business 50 run Oracle."

Oracle's use of the phrase "business Internet" isn't coincidental; the phrase is the centerpiece of Microsoft Corp.'s latest campaign, from McCann-Erickson/A&L, New York and San Francisco.

"It was intentional," Mr. Jorgenson said of Oracle's use of the phrase. "Three to four years ago, [Oracle Chairman-CEO Larry Ellison] said this is where the Internet is going, and we just wanted to bring that to the forefront."

Oracle hyped that irony in February, when Microsoft introduced Windows 2000, with some guerrilla adplay. "We just wanted to bring the truth forward," Mr. Jorgenson added.

Oracle will present between 10 and 20 different ad executions throughout the year, each showcasing a different fact about its software.

NEW TARGETS

Oracle's campaign targets not only its traditional techie audience, but takes the message directly to CEOs, chief financial officers and chief information officers, who increasingly are more involved in purchase decisions for mission-critical technology.

The Oracle spots will run in prime-time network TV, Sunday morning newschat, and on NBC broadcasts of the NBA playoffs beginning this week, as well as in cable network financial programming. In mid-May, Oracle will expand the campaign into international markets.

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