Looks to Prove It's More Than Just a Network Technologies Company

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SAN FRANCISCO ( -- Cisco Systems this week breaks a $150 million global advertising campaign aimed at restoring some of the Internet's lost luster and expanding the perception of the networking company as more than a marketer of routers and switches.

Growing markets
In the new campaign by WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, Cisco attempts to show how its products can help businesses secure data, improve storage, save money on Internet telephone systems and use wireless communications. Cisco executives see those markets growing exponentially through 2005, with Internet phoning becoming a $2.8 billing business and security a $4.9 billion one. In the Internet phone space, Cisco has 52% market share, executives said.

"Companies need to invest in their

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productivity," Marilyn Mersereau, vice president of corporate marketing, told Cicso believes now is "an ideal time to position us in these markets," she said. "No one really owns the space."

Dan Burrier, chief creative officer at Los Angeles-based Ogilvy, said, "We want people to rethink their notion of the network. Is it just a bunch of connections and boxes or a serious business tool? We want business to look at the net as an investment and consider what they can do. The network becomes bigger than the dot-com network."

Integrated campaign
The integrated campaign, slated to run in eight countries including the U.S. and Canada, carries the tagline "This is the power of the network. Now." Each element of the campaign begins with the word "meanwhile" and a location, starting with "meanwhile, on planet Earth" in a 60-second anthem spot that shows how the Internet connects people and improves lives and businesses around the world.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company's campaign launches today with an eight-page insert in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, San Jose Mercury and The Washington Post. In addition, commercials will run on prime-time TV programming. A second four-week flight of ads will run later this year.

The TV campaign will direct viewers to a Web site that includes return on investment calculators and case studies designed for business and technical decision-makers.

"We'll solicit their feedback and integrate it into the ongoing conversation ... and we hope many of them will turn into leads to drive our business," Cisco said in a statement announcing the campaign. Other aspects of the interactive campaign include online banner ads and one-to-one e-mailers.

War with Iraq
One concern for the marketer was that the campaign, with its "meanwhile, on planet Earth" introduction, launches at a time when the U.S. is poised to attack Iraq.

"We talked about that with Cisco," Mr. Burrier said. "But to some extent life has to go on," he said, adding the global nature of the campaign offers a "positive message. We're one Earth."

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