Venables, Bell Breaks Siebel Branding Push

SAN FRANCISCO Independent Venables, Bell & Partners here launched a new integrated brand campaign today for Siebel Systems tagged “It’s all about the customer.”

Print ads broke today in The Wall Street Journal, according to the agency. Online also launched at

Siebel, a CRM software developer based in San Mateo, Calif., spent $2.5 million on ads in 2004, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Figures for 2005 are incomplete.

One print ad features a photograph of a sheep on a hillside. Copy states, “The benefit of selling to sheep: Sheep aren’t demanding. Sheep are predictable,” and so on. Text then reads: “Your customers aren’t sheep. They’re your biggest opportunity, and now you can treat them accordingly.”

Two other print ads play on the bad business plans of using psychics to communicate to customers and treating a customer base like a town in Alaska with a population of 13.

Paul Venables, founder and co-creative director of Venables, Bell, said he believes it is important for Siebel to be approachable.

“And this campaign actually empathizes with business decision makers about how hard it is to attract and retain good customers,” he said. “That empathy is critical.”

Venables said focus groups related well to the print work.

“A couple waved the sheep ad around and said things like ‘This makes me want to call Siebel tomorrow’ and ‘Can I get this framed?’ ” he said.

“This is a company that is coming back strong, and this kind of advertising can help them tremendously,” Venables said. “And, for the first time, their brand message is designed to talk to companies of all sizes.”

Venables, Bell was also recently awarded Siebel’s online creative without a review.

“We wanted to develop a smart, efficient, but also not-boring way for them to show off their case studies,” Venables said.

This is the first brand campaign Siebel has done since before Venables, Bell won the account in September 2002. The effort will roll out over the next 18 months, with print and online now, then more of each in the fall and potentially some brand TV. Print will run in BusinessWeek, CFO, Forbes and Harvard Business Review, among others.