IBM’s Watson Chats With Bob Dylan

By Erik Oster 

Last month Ogivly launched a new campaign for IBM as part of the brand’s “big things planned for the year ahead.” Now the agnency has rolled out a series of new 30-second broadcast spots featuring IBM’s “cognitive computing” project Watson.

The most high-profile of the spots shows Watson chatting with Bob Dylan. “To improve my language skills, I’ve read all of your lyrics,” Watson informs Dylan, then adding that it can read 800 million pages per second. When Watson tells Dylan its analysis shows that his major themes are that “time passes and love fades,” he agrees that “That sounds about right.” When Watson tries to sing, however, Dylan walks out. The onscreen pairing is sure to attract attention, but the ad seems to lose steam, somehow seeming a lot longer than its 30-second runtime, and doesn’t seem to know how to end. Other spots show Watson reunited with Ken Jennings, who it defeated on Jeopardy and an actress named Annabelle portraying a cancer survivor.

“We’re focusing on the advertising here, but this is really more than an advertising campaign,” IBM vice president of ┬ábranded content Ann Rubin told Adweek. “It’s a point of view that IBM has, and it’s going across all of our marketing, our internal communications, how we engage sellers and our employees. It’s really across everything that we do.”