Ogilvy Touts IBM Innovation

NEW YORK IBM today launches a new global campaign from Ogilvy & Mather that closes the book on its four-year-old “On Demand Business” effort and introduces the theme, “Innovation That Matters.”

The campaign, which includes TV, print, outdoor and Web ads, begins in the U.S. and will eventually spread to 12 markets worldwide.

Spending was not disclosed, but a company representative said “Innovation That Matters” would be the primary campaign for 2006, though one other product-focused effort also is planned. In the U.S. alone, IBM spends more than $200 million annually in major measured media, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

The first ads will appear on the Web and in an eight-page insert in The Wall Street Journal.

The work, which was developed in the past six months, repositions IBM as supplying the means for corporations to innovate—structurally, financially or operationally. The previous “On Demand” effort portrayed Big Blue as a problem-solver, including a recent TV spot featuring a man at a “help desk” responding to the dilemmas of a small-business owner who couldn’t keep up with customer demands.

The first 60-second TV spot breaks Saturday during the NCAA basketball tournament. It depicts a stream of blue flower petals that emerge from a factory’s smokestack and float over various settings, such as a cluster of office cubicles or the maternity ward in a hospital. The focus then shifts to groups of men and women who appear to be singing along to a song from the Kinks that speaks to the new positioning: “I’m Not Like Anybody Else.”

The spot, which was shot in New York, London and Shanghai and directed by Joe Pytka, ends with a series of questions presented in white screen copy: “What makes you DIFFERENT? What makes you UNIQUE? What makes you SPECIAL?”

The flowers are a metaphor for hope, optimism and change, explained Chris Wall, co-executive creative director at WPP’s Ogilvy in New York. “They’re a “deliberate kind of magic symbol,” Wall added.

Another spot shows businesspeople converging on a water cooler at a four-way intersection in the desert. “Come today, bring your ideas, your skills,” says a voiceover. “Let’s do something different, something special.”

All told, Ogilvy created about a half-dozen TV spots, a similar number of print ads and numerous outdoor executions, including oversized rectangular ads that will be placed on the tarmacs of two commuter helipads in Manhattan—a first for IBM.

“We didn’t want to do the kind of business-as-usual advertising for us,” said Deirdre Bigley, vice president of worldwide advertising at the client.