IBM's Watson Reunites With Jeopardy Champ Ken Jennings, Meets Bob Dylan in Latest Campaign

Company's AI Genius Also Hooks up With Bob Dylan

Published On
Oct 05, 2015

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In 2011, IBM's Watson famously went head to head with Jeopardy champs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter in real world face-off, beating them to a pulp. In a pair of new ads via Ogilvy New York, Watson revisited Mr. Jennings to gloat about how in the years since his victory he's become even smarter and more powerful -- he can now recognize faces and watch movies; he also met up with Bob Dylan to explain how he's improved his language and analytical skills by learning all of the musician's lyrics (his analysis shows that the musician's main themes are "time passes and love fades").

The campaign represents a new direction for IBM, which has replaced its "Smarter Planet" strategy with one focused on "Cognitive Business," a reflection of the seismic impact of cloud computing and data analytics on the company and its clients. The brand-platform update is the third in twenty years for IBM, and will involve an investment at least as large as that of its seven-year Smarter Planet effort, which encompassed around 100 TV spots and several hundred print ads.

"We will apply at least that amount behind the Cognitive Business idea behind Watson," said Jon Iwata, IBM's senior VP marketing and communications, who would not provide campaign budget numbers. "As we did with Smarter Planet, we will roll this out globally and it will continue and gain a great deal of momentum in the coming months."

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