IBM’s new ‘What if?’ campaign looks at the big questions that lead to tech-powered solutions

Oscar Isaac narrates Ogilvy’s pleasantly freewheeling spots, directed with visual flair by Ian Pons Jewell

Published On
Apr 06, 2023
A crowd gasping at the Masters golf tournament

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It’s often said innovation begins with asking the right questions—a concept that IBM and Ogilvy lean into with their new campaign, themed “What If?”

Four spots, voiced by Oscar Isaac and directed by Ian Pons Jewell, explore IBM’s capabilities across consulting, data, AI and security. They all underscore, in different ways, the importance of asking big questions that  can lead to the co-creation of equally big technology solutions.

The first spot, airing during the Masters golf tournament—which IBM has been involved with for 25 years now—includes a cameo from pro golfer Kurt Kitayama with added voiceover by sports commentator Jim Nantz. It also establishes the campaign’s inviting visual language, with quirky camera angles, slow-mo bits, and an overall playfulness that makes the largely B2B message feel approachable.

At its core, the launch spot asks: “What if you could remaster the Masters fan experience?” The campaign also continues the “Let’s create” theme introduced last year.


“We first launched ‘Let’s create’ as an open invitation for clients and partners to co-create with IBM by using our hybrid cloud, AI and consulting expertise. Inspired by actual  examples, ‘What if?’ is a continuation of that concept,” said Jonathan Adashek, SVP of marketing and communications at IBM. “With this new campaign, we’re telling stories of how IBM is collaborating with clients and partners to deliver lasting value, while solving their most pressing questions through our technology and services.”   

Here are three more spots:


The question mark from “What If?” is a central visual conceit in the print work, including ads in the Masters program, which you can see below. 

“Every inch of progress the human race has ever made began with a simple question: ‘What if?’ This question is the foundation of every big solution IBM creates with their clients, and is the center point of our new campaign," said Matthew Curry, global executive creative director at Ogilvy. "Using the question mark as an iconic central device, the work captures the spirit of IBM’s co-creation process. From creating arresting print ads about the AI-powered platform IBM created with the Masters to shooting a series of fast-paced films with Ian Pons Jewell and Oscar Isaac, every piece of this campaign brings to life the essence of IBM’s brand platform, ‘Let’s create.’” 

IBM print ad in the Masters tournament program showing a question mark made of golf club heads

IBM print ad in the Masters tournament program showing a question mark made of golf balls

IBM print ad in the Masters tournament program showing a question mark made of putting green grass

IBM print ad in the Masters tournament program showing a question mark made of flowers and a golf ball

IBM print ad in the Masters tournament program showing a question mark made of flying sand coming out of a sandtrap


Apr 06, 2023
Client :
Agency :
CCO & SVP Marketing and Communications :
Jonathan Adashek
Vice President Brand Content and Product Marketing :
Joe Rivas
VP Brand Marketing :
Randi Stipes
VP Brand Experience & Design :
Todd Simmons
Global VP of Paid Media & Marketing Automation :
Robyn McRae
Media Manager :
Claudio Zibenberg
Global Director of Brand Marketing :
Joseph Prota
Senior Advertising Manager :
Gemma Smith
Manager Brand Marketing :
Meghan Wolf
Advertising Manager :
Jean Gleason
Advertising Manager :
Connor Savoye
Advertising Manager :
Julie Aguirre
Global Chief Creative Officer :
Liz Taylor
Global Executive Creative Director :
Matthew Curry
Executive Creative Director :
Aste Gutierrez
Group Creative Director :
Rachel Frederick
Group Creative Director :
Mohamed Diaa
Creative Director :
Ryan Quigley
Associate Creative Director :
Ben Morejon
Associate Creative Director :
Andrew Curtis
Art Director :
Nuri Park
Associate Design Director :
Stephanie Daniele
Executive Producer :
Jack Patrick
Senior Producer :
Sarah Pascale
Executive Music Producer :
Karl Westman
Senior Content Producer :
Nick Bologna
Senior Business Manager :
Libby Fine
Global Managing Director :
Jeremy Kuhn
Managing Director :
Tina Galley
Executive Group Director :
David Shaw
Account Director :
Jehan Majdali
Account Supervisor :
Jeniffer Agudelo
Director Project Management :
Brantley Doyle
Senior Project Manager :
Lauren Kosche
Group Strategy Director :
Jordan Weil
Strategy Director :
Brenna Tharnstrom
Global President Media :
Archana Deshmukh
Director Integrated Planning :
Erica Gorlick
Media Director :
Lauren Torres
Media Director Senior Partner :
Will Cooley
Production Company :
Director :
Ian Pons Jewell
Executive Producer :
Maddi Carlton
Head of Production :
Matt Sanders
Producer :
Jon Adams
MD :
Zico Judge
Service Company :
Head of Production :
Pablo Herraiz
Producer :
Veronica Pales
Production Manager :
Marc A. Martinez
Production Coordinator :
Maria Sanz
Editorial :
The Den
Editor :
Tobias Suhm
Editor :
Aaron Tompkins
Assistant Editor :
Evan Carp
Assistant Editor :
Aaron Castro
Executive Producer :
Kortney Robottom
Executive Producer :
Diane Hill
Executive Producer :
Hadi Dahrouge
Music :
Producer :
Tim Harrison
Music :
Storefront Music
Color :
Electric Theatre Collective
Colorist :
Luke Morrison
Color Producer :
Olivia Jessop
Mix :
Sonic Union
Mix Engineer :
David Papa
Mix Engineer :
Julienne Guffain
Head of Production :
Pat Sullivan

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