Special Report: Case study on IBM Corp.

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The "codernauts" looking for better software in a new IBM Corp. ad campaign are the product of intense collaboration between IBM and its agency OgilvyOne to establish IBM as a leader in the software industry. And to do so, they're unabash-edly targeting IT geeks and their love of all things science fiction.

It's the first time IBM has launched a campaign for its four main software brands, including DB2, Lotus, WebSphere and Tivoli, under one integrated effort. The $110 million advertising campaign broke in March with TV, print, outdoor, online and direct, supported by an additional $110 million marketing campaign that included events, collateral and other vehicles.

In the creative, which is consistent across all media, two "codernauts" from a parallel universe are on a mission to find better software. The campaign's tagline is: "It's a different world. You need a different kind of software."

Advertiser: IBM Corp., Armonk, N.Y.
Campaign: An integrated effort to promote IBM's four primary software brands
Objective: Establish awareness for IBM as a leader in the software industry
Agency: OgilvyOne, New York
Budget: $110 million
Media: TV, print, outdoor, online, direct
Results: Campaign just launched, too early to tell.
"We were looking to bring together all the IBM software brands under a single creative device, and this was something that would work across all media, not just TV," said Chris Wall, senior partner and executive creative director at OgilvyOne.

The concept was developed after IBM and OgilvyOne identified the media vehicles and messages that would appeal to IBM software's target audience.

"What was most important to us at first was to understand who we were targeting," said Lou D'Ambrosio, VP-worldwide marketing, IBM Software Group. To do this, IBM and OgilvyOne did extensive research to find out who influenced buying decisions about middleware. They identified a core group of users, primarily IT professionals, and found that sci-fi content appealed to them. Because these influencers practically live on the Web, IBM allocated roughly 15% to 20% of its

total ad budget to online, compared with an average 7% to 8%, D'Ambrosio said.

In one test of the creative, the agency dressed up a couple of guys in space suits and sent them out onto the streets of New York with a crew of photographers to gauge reaction, although "three-quarters of the people were oblivious," Wall said. It was New York, after all.

Now, IBM is using its own sophisticated measurement system on a monthly basis to track the effectiveness of the campaign, D'Ambrosio said. For the brand awareness goal, it's tracking unaided awareness, aided awareness and awareness of competitors. For the sub-goals of generating consideration of IBM products when making software decisions and driving revenue, it's using quantitative research. "Our internal market intelligence team surveys tens of thousands of prospects a month," D'Ambrosio said. "If we didn't do that, we wouldn't have a good sense of how we're making traction against each goal."

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