Ad Age’s reviewer in 2000, Bob Garfield, wrote that this Super Bowl spot was “an utterly confusing display.” To read accounts before the game, that was all but intentional. “On Super Bowl Sunday, MicroStrategy will broadcast to millions a message that company executives expect few to understand,” the Washington Business Journal wrote. "‘But it's more a question of “who” than “how many,” said Joseph Payne, chief marketing officer for Vienna-based MicroStrategy. … ‘One lead could pay for the commercial.’”
MicroStrategy had more reason than most business-to-business marketers to take its pitch to advertising’s biggest stage. It wanted to sell its data analytics and other services to marketers in particular, and knew that its target consumers would be watching the ad breaks closely -- because that’s what their profession does.
Its fourth-quarter ad followed a series of pre-game spots on Super Bowl Sunday, at a total cost of $2.5 million in airtime alone, but saved money on production by going without an ad agency. Payne, who at one time handled branding for Coca-Cola Classic, used contacts from his advertising experience to find directors and producers for the spots. The TV campaign, combined with a print effort that broke in December magazines such as BusinessWeek and Fortune, marked the Vienna, Va.-based company's first major advertising effort.