IBM and Digital kick off $340 mil in global blitzes

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IBM Corp. this week begins the largest marketing campaign in its history, a $200 million-plus global ad blitz positioning IBM as the solution for "e-business."

Rival Digital Equipment Corp., meanwhile, today starts its first global campaign since consolidating at DDB Needham Worldwide in July. Digital is increasing its ad budget by 30% to an estimated $140 million.


IBM on Oct. 7 introduces a brand campaign positioning Big Blue as the solution for business people struggling with how to restage their companies around the Internet.

Abby Kohnstamm, VP-corporate marketing, said IBM will spend "several hundred million dollars" worldwide over the next year on the corporate campaign, including TV in 30 countries, print and IBM's largest Web ad campaign to date.

The campaign is from Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York, which handles the estimated $700 million IBM account.

The campaign introduces a new trademark logo--an "e" in a circle--that will be used in ads and promotional materials.

IBM will extend its "e-business" theme into product ads, trade shows and collateral materials as part of what Ms. Kohnstamm said will be IBM's largest-ever integrated ad and marketing campaign.

IBM for the first time is tying its brand to Lotus Development Corp., acquired two years ago. Lotus spots from O&M carry the line "An IBM company." Lotus also will use the "e" logo.

IBM's challenge is that it is a mature tech company trying to remain relevant in a world where the Internet is changing business.

Ms. Kohnstamm argues IBM's ace in the whole is its ability to package broad networking solutions including hardware, software and services.

The new campaign was created by Steve Hayden, O&M's president-IBM brand services.

"The [business] opportunities [for IBM customers] are huge, but so are some of the issues that businesses confront," Mr. Hayden said. "You need a trusted partner to help get you there in the shortest amount of time possible."

The campaign started with a teaser spot Oct. 5. It kicks into high gear starting Oct. 7. with an eight-page insert in The Wall Street Journal, about 10 other dailies and more computer publications; five TV spots; spreads in business and computer titles; and Web ads.

TV spots continue the "blue letterbox" and b&w approach IBM debuted in April. The spots come across as witty and empathetic, portraying the challenges faced by business people.

At Digital, today marks the kickoff of a unified global print and Web campaign, the first since the company in July consolidated worldwide marketing under Bruce Claflin and named DDB Needham Worldwide, New York, to handle its global account.

Mr. Claflin, senior VP-general manager of worldwide sales and marketing, said Digital will boost ad spending 30% for the year begun July 1 to an estimated $140 million.

Initial ads focus on Digital's product and service strengths and on customer success stories. Future ads encompassing products and partners will use the same look and feel.

Digital is laboring to generate revenue growth and consistent profits after devastating losses early this decade, but Mr. Claflin said he wanted to focus on the positive story of leading products and services.

The print campaign will break simultaneously in 24 countries, said Mary Allard, VP-worldwide marketing communications.

In stark contrast to other computer makers big and small, Digital for now has decided against TV.

Though Mr. Claflin used Y&R Advertising, New York, in his previous post in the PC division, he said he never seriously considered any agency other than DDB Needham to handle the global account. Mr. Claflin said DDB Needham's knowledge of Digital and his need to move quickly made that agency the logical choice.

Copyright October 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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