Sun Evolves Its Global Campaign

Sun Micro systems is moving ahead with its global advertising campaign, paving the way with print ads ahead of a TV launch scheduled for May.

The $100 million campaign, created by Tonic 360 @ JWT, is beginning with print spreads that are running in daily newspapers and business and technology magazines such as Fortune, The Economist and The Industry Standard. The first buy was a six-page spread in February in The Wall Street Journal.

Five or six TV commercials are now in the works, according to Vikki Garrod, new-business manager at the San Francisco agency.

Initiative Media in Los Angeles handles media buying duties on the account.

“The client likes the campaign because it gets back to basics for them,” Garrod said. “A lot of people have said that it has a strong message. The ads strip the hype away and just focus on [Sun’s] vision for the future.”

Tonic’s new tagline for Sun, “Take it to the nth,” plays off the symbol of an exponent, used in mathematics to raise values to other powers. (“To the nth degree” implies to the extreme or utmost.) The line replaced “We’re the dot in dot-com,” which was created by the high-tech marketer’s former agency, Lowe Lintas & Partners.

In one of the current print ads, a wolf is shown above a field of sheep with the phrase “opportunity(n)” in bold. The (n) symbolizes “to the nth.” Body copy suggests Sun offers technology that makes using the Internet easier.

Agency creatives said the goal of the campaign is to provide viewers with a slice of life. “We wanted to deliver a simple, engaging and highly relevant message to our target,” executive creative director Fred Schwartz said.

It could not be determined what kind of approach the upcoming TV spots might take. Executives at Sun, based in Palo Alto, Calif., could not immediately be reached for comment.

The creative director and copywriter on the current print work was Toby Barlow. The associate creative director and art director was Elsebeth Thomsen.

Tonic 360 pitched and won the Sun account with J. Walter Thompson last winter. Shortly after the win, JWT acquired Tonic.

Tonic, founded in 1996, has also worked with Macy’s West, iBeam and AvantGo.