Workplace collaboration suites are a ubiquitous necessity these days. But the sheer proliferation can actually make them harder to use. Is that document on Google Drive or attached to an email in Outlook? Is the meeting on Skype for Business or Hangouts? Ping me on Facebook Messenger, because I don't get text messages internationally.
In a bid to stand out from the crowded field of teleconferencing and workflow clients like Slack and Zoom, Cisco is pushing its Webex enterprise software for virtual meetings. A new 90-second spot from creative agency of record Ogilvy features actor Millie Bobby Brown opining about the benefits of human interaction and collaboration. It could be an incongruous message coming from the mouth of a 14-year-old, but it will make sense to anyone who's familiar with her lonely, isolated character in Netflix's "Stranger Things."
"Millie has a universal appeal. Like Cisco, she brings people together, both on and off the screen," says Karen Walker, chief marketing officer of Cisco. "Millie's youth was a determinant in casting her. As we continue to keep the Cisco brand fresh and unexpected, Millie represents us in a new light to a new generation."
The spot also represents a shift in messaging for the company. This is still very much a b-to-b campaign, aimed at IT buyers at large corporations. But Cisco's research also revealed that end users have a say in picking which software a company buys, too--one that's been traditionally overlooked by enterprise solutions.
"We went out and talked to people who are heavy users of collaboration technology and discovered that they are in the driver's seat," Walker says. "Their hunger for new innovative tools and power to influence purchasing decisions cannot be underestimated."
The spot itself is a variation on the British celebrity walk-and-talk that's been working for Cisco for the last few years. Back when Goodby Silverstein & Partners had the account, a very excited Ewan McGregor marveled at everything humanity has accomplished. (He was filming "Trainspotting 2" at the time, so maybe he needed cheering up.) Last year, just before HBO aired the seventh season finale for "Game of Thrones," Ogilvy's first work for Cisco ran online--a much darker take on the world, narrated for three long minutes by Peter Dinklage as he stalked the shadowy streets of London.
Cisco was particularly happy with the Dinklage work. "It contributed to our largest networking launch in decades that resulted in the fastest business ramp in Cisco history," Walker says. The Brown work splits the difference between the two previous spots. Brown, using her actual British accent, gives an aspirational monologue featuring astronauts and children. The tone is hopeful rather than celebratory--we're not there yet, but we could be soon. Paul Dektor, who shot the Dinklage film was also director on the new ad.
The new campaign launches today in the U.S., with a global rollout in May and June in Australia, Canada (in both English and French), India, the UK, Japan, China, France, Germany, Brazil and Mexico.