Fallon or JWT to Push Sun as Software Player

The winner of the shootout between Fallon and incumbent JWT & Tonic for Sun Microsystems’ creative “project” will be charged with creating a fall campaign that positions Sun as a direct competitor to software giants such as Microsoft and IBM, sources said.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based advertiser, which spends $100 million globally, sent a strategic brief to agencies saying it wants to launch an “aggressive” ad campaign to tell consumers that Sun makes more than computer servers, that “they sell software and business solutions,” a source said. “They’ve said it’s time for them to get some exposure. They are calling this campaign their ‘coming-out party.’ “

Sun launched a search for a shop to handle what sources termed a global branding assignment earlier this summer that included the two remaining contenders and Leagas Delaney, San Francisco (Adweek, July 22). The winning agency will be asked to create the client’s first new branding campaign in 18 months, sources said.

Sun’s current shop, JWT & Tonic in San Francisco, created the “We make the net work” campaign, designed to convey the idea that the company’s products help computer users maximize their time online. Now, however, Sun wants “to be seen as more than a box—(i.e. server)—company,” another source said.

Sources said JWT and Fallon, Minneapolis, will make further presentations this week. Agency officials declined to comment.

The incumbent has lost several pieces of Sun business in recent months. Print buying and planning went in February, when all of Sun’s media (the balance handled by Initiative Media) was awarded to Starcom, Chicago. Interactive, a review in which JWT & Tonic participated, was won by Beyond Interactive, San Francisco, in July.

“JWT & Tonic continues to be our agency of record,” said Karen Becker, Sun director of global advertising and sponsorship. She declined further comment.