Ad of the Day: Cisco

Firm returns to its roots in a spot with anthropomorphic robots

Amid investor concerns that Cisco was losing its focus after making misguided acquisitions in the consumer market, the company launched a sweeping corporate reorganization last year that returned the firm to its networking core. Gone now are consumer offerings like the videoconferencing system featured in last year's humorous ads fronted by Juno actress Ellen Page. In a sweeping new campaign from OgilvyWest, the San Jose, Calif., company returns to the b-to-b space as it talks to its enterprise customer base and once again presents itself as a technology thought leader in the face of a growing number of rivals. 

OgilvyWest, which has worked with the client for a decade, returns to the company's "Human Network" positioning and focuses on how Cisco makes innovation possible for its customers. The new work shows that the stuff of routing and switching doesn't have to be dull, though. The first spot in the series looks at how Cisco contributes to increased productivity in automotive manufacturing, with one robot—at work assembling a car—repairing another after it breaks down in the process. This isn't the first time a marketer has given car-manufacturing robots the anthropomorphic treatment—GM did so in its 2007 "Robot" Super Bowl commercial—but Ogilvy gives Cisco's story a playful twist by casting brightly colored robots with human characteristics. A nice touch in the commercial's execution is the layering of factory sound effects into a remix of the Gary Numan's 1979 hit "Cars."

This is the first Cisco foray for OgilvyWest's new chief creative officers, James Dawson-Hollis and Bill Wright, hired from Crispin Porter + Bogusky last fall. The spot is also breaking around the first anniversary of Blair Christie's promotion to Cisco CMO a year ago. She confirms the campaign's role in conveying the company's return to its roots. "We are refocusing on our priorities as a company and showing what we can do with our customers, large and small," she says.

The campaign also includes print and digital elements like homepage takeovers and a LinkedIn outreach to 140,000 potential C-suite customers.


Client: Cisco

Spot: "Built for the Assembly Line"

Agency: OgilvyWest

Chief Creative Officers: James Dawson-Hollis, Bill Wright

Associate Creative Directors: Jeff Heath, Dennis Lee

Agency Producer: Eric Rasco

Agency President: Heather MacPherson

Account Director: Efren Gonzalez

Account Management Supervisor: Sarah Tabbush

Director: David Rosenbaum, Mothership

Production, Animation, Editorial and Visual Effects: Digital Domain


VP, Global Corporate Marketing, Branding: Michele Bogdan

Senior Directo, Global Advertising, Media: Julia Mee

SVP, CMO, Worldwide Government Affairs: Blair Christie