Hill, Holliday Stresses Sybase’s Acquired Strengths

Sybase’s acqui sition of New Era Networks earlier this year is the impetus for a multifaceted ad campaign breaking this month that seeks to redefine the company. The national print, radio and interactive ads, created by Hill, Holliday and SF Interactive, tout Sybase’s new integration capabilities.

Hill, Holliday in San Francisco has worked on Sybase’s $15 million account since 1999, and launched new work for the Emeryville, Calif., company less than a year ago. But the acquisition of New Era Networks—or “Neon” as it is widely known—mandated a change, said Patrick Godfrey, agency group account director.

During the mid-1990s, Sybase was primarily known as a database provider, competing against firms such as Oracle. Although Sybase still offers database services, the new campaign will focus on the acquired e-business integration applications.

The ads are geared to a targeted audience of business and technical decision makers. The eight radio spots, which will air in spot markets including Boston and New York, are narrated by a sultry-voiced woman.

In one, she talks with an “über geek” sitting beside her on an airplane who is responsible for a global computer network, including automated sales and inventory systems, servers, mainframes and a host of PCs. “What he didn’t have was a way for them to work together,” laments the woman. That said, she tells him about Sybase e-business software.

The print work, which will run in business publications, is bolder and more forceful than previous efforts, said Godfrey. One of the three copy-heavy ads highlights “five blatant lies about application servers.” Another outlines “six dangerous myths about e-business platforms.”

The online ads from SF Interactive, San Francisco, will run on Cnet’s sites and play off the print work. In one, for example, the user can take a polygraph test revealing the aforementioned lies.

“There is a refreshing honesty and anti-hype to these ads,” said Paul Connolly, vp of strategic marketing at Sybase. “We’re running counter to the wave of e-business hype out there.”

Sybase spent more than $7 million on measured media in 2000, per CMR. It spent an additional $2-3 million in the business-to-business space, according to AdScope.