Cisco Imagines a World Without Product Recalls, Missed Deliveries and Traffic Jams

CMO Says 'The Internet of Everything' Is Not One Technology

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Cisco last week launched a new TV spot in its two-year campaign, "Tomorrow Starts Here." The spot, called "The Last Traffic Jam," was created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and shows what's possible in a world where different technologies are connected.

Blair Christie, senior VP-CMO at Cisco, talked to Ad Age about the campaign and how it fits into Cisco's broader "Internet of Everything" platform.

Blair Christie
Blair Christie

Advertising Age: What is the goal of the "Firsts and Lasts" campaign?

Ms. Christie: This is the third chapter in our campaign. We launched "Tomorrow Starts Here" in December 2012. The idea behind the campaign is that the next wave of the internet – or the "Internet of Everything" as we call it -- is really coming to bear, and it is a tremendous opportunity for organizations, enterprise customers large and small and service providers.

It's not just about one technology -- it's about connections and bringing together all of the solutions. And that's what the Cisco platform really brings -- it is a network-centric model. The campaign is focused on bringing customers even closer to understanding how our platform at Cisco can help them create the most amazing "firsts," but even more importantly, ensure that we have some pretty important "lasts" around their business and around society.

Ad Age: How do you tell this story in the campaign?

Ms. Christie: The first kickoff is around "The Last Traffic Jam," and it's a way for us to illustrate a really powerful opportunity when you bring all of these technologies and solutions together, whether it's cloud or security or mobility or the connected car or connected parking -- bringing them all together using a Cisco network to create the last traffic jam.

Ad Age: What are some of the other "lasts" you'll focus on in the campaign?

Ms. Christie: We came up with well over 75 possibilities that could tell really powerful and aspirational stories, tied directly to what we're offering our customers today and what some of our partners offer. There's the last product recall, the last missed delivery, and potentially, as we look even further ahead, the last cyber attack, perhaps even the last leaked selfie. We'll be rolling these out over the next couple of months, and they'll be delivered through TV and traditional media, as well as digital media, video spots and others.

Ad Age: What other types of marketing programs do you plan to launch this year?

Ms. Christie: Our goals for this year fall into four categories. We call it the pirate, for "ARRR" -- awareness, reach, response and revenue. Those are four core categories that all of our goals and metrics are lining up against. We have to drive awareness, and we do that with brand, advertising, analyst relations and other programs. We need to drive our reach -- how many people are we reaching and are we reaching our target audience. In our world, the buyers and budgets have shifted. It's not just our traditional, very important technology buyer, but it's also other areas. Then response -- once we reach them, are they actually responding, clicking through and engaging with us. And finally revenue -- are we turning all those leads into revenue.

This awareness campaign is absolutely focused on all four of those categories, and that is something new for us. We're not just trying to drive awareness, like we were two years ago. Now we're really tying everything together. When someone comes online to learn more about the last traffic jam, it will drive them all the way to the technology that is supporting that, and an offer for them and their business. And it will be targeted whether they are a business decision-maker, a technology decision-maker, even a CXO or a line-of-business leader.

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