Goodby Simplifies Complex World of Adobe

SAN FRANCISCO Adobe Systems hopes consumers remember that it’s as easy to give as it is to receive.

In the company’s first-ever television commercial breaking today from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, a ribbon-wrapped gift serves as a metaphor for the software company’s core product—Adobe Acrobat, which creates portable document formats or PDF files.

The advertising aims to clear up confusion about the firm’s products—specifically the difference between Acrobat software that allows the creation of PDFs and the ubiquitous free Adobe Acrobat Reader software.

“There is already a lot of awareness for Adobe and [the Reader],” said Peter Isaacson, senior director of worldwide brand marketing for Adobe Systems in San Jose, Calif. “We’ve had 500 million free downloads to date but that strength is also a weakness. It has created passivity in the marketplace. People feel they already have our products.”

The 30-second spot also shows the ease in which graphic documents are created. “It is not just about receiving passively an Adobe PDF. It’s also about actively creating an Adobe PDF,” Isaacson said. In the end, the commercial uses its own clever graphical device to turn the gift on its side, forming the Adobe Acrobat logo.

“At its simplest, it’s a giant tease to get people to think about the PDF in a different way,” said Rich Silverstein, agency co-founder and co-creative director.

Online advertising will also launch in conjunction with the campaign that further illustrates the uses of the graphic software. Adobe Systems would not disclose spending for this campaign. The company spent about $25 million last year on advertising, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

The campaign also coincides with the launch of Adobe Systems’ latest version, Acrobat 6. To further end the product confusion, the company will stop using the name Acrobat Reader, for the free reader software, and will begin calling it Adobe Reader.