IBM Launches Ambush of Sun Microsystems

Also, Food Network Debuts 'This is Your Fridge'

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It's guerrilla marketing. Or gorilla marketing. IBM ambushed a Sun Microsystems-sponsored trade show in NY last week with newspaper ads and wild postings from O&M/NY stealing the look, feel and even poster media play of Lowe's brash declarative Sun campaign. Sun ad chief Tracey Stout doesn't mind being mimicked by a giant that outspends her $80 million-$90 million budget 7-to-1. "They basically lifted our ad and put an IBM signature at the bottom," Stout says. She does complain IBM did a pale knockoff. "It's disappointing," she says, "that they have not been able to capture Sun's wit and sense of humor." IBM and agency put together the Sun blitz in 10 days, trying to show Big Blue can act quickly. IBM's Lotus did a similar guerrilla play last week, operating free shuttle buses between Boston hotels and a Microsoft conference. Visitors got a chance to win prizes if they agreed to wear a Lotus shirt into the conference. An IBM spokesman vows Big Blue will do more guerrilla tactics. "We will on occasion, when we think the opportunity is right, go with one of these hard-hitting, fast-moving, in-your-face efforts locally," he says. "We say we want to be more nimble. This is one way to do it."

No hyper-space for `Star Wars'

Twentieth Century Fox and Lucasfilm are entertaining a novel pre-release ad strategy for next year's eagerly anticipated "Star Wars: Episode One" -- almost no advertising at all. One of several plans being kicked around would rely on Frito-Lay, Pepsi-Cola Co. and Tricon Global for TV support and have Fox only producing a trailer, theater posters and print a few weeks prior to the Memorial Day weekend opening. Reason: a fear of hype-induced backlash (re: "Godzilla"), plus an already extraordinary level of pre-awareness. Fox insiders say it's very likely the studio will spend less to open the prequel than on an average release, which ranges between $20 million and $30 million.

Fun fare from Food Network

Our two favorite new shows for the fall season come to us courtesy of the Food Network. First is the new game show "Pressure Cooker," which promises "contestants matching food knowledge, taste buds and crazy culinary skills," according to the network's promo material. Then there's "This Is Your Fridge," featuring the yummy leftovers found in various celebrities' refrigerators. We've got dibs on Rosie.

Yes to Coens . . . no to ralphing

Joel & Ethan Coen ("Fargo," "The Big Lebowski") direct the new campaign for Honda's Odyssey minivan from Rubin Postaer/Santa Monica. It's a sequel for the brothers Coen, who directed an award-winning Honda campaign two years ago. . . . "Ralph wore them. (But he didn't ralph on them)," says a spoof of Levi Strauss ads, done by Anderson & Lembke/SF to promote cool but used clothes at Goodwill. . . . While housed at 735 Battery St., SF's Hal Riney saw one PC client, Momenta, implode and a second, Acer, walk out the door. Riney moved out. Saatchi moved in. So little surprise when HP's PC division last week left Saatchi and Battery St. -- for Riney.

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