Commentary

"Smart" Advertising

  • by , March 8, 2009

The essence of advertising is communicating your idea as simply and succinctly as possible to the most people, generating sales or some other type of reaction. It seems to me that most ad campaigns play to the lowest common denominator. The message is as passive as it can be with some purely emotional “hook.”

I was able to take a deep breath of fresh air when I saw the first television spot for IBM’s “Smarter Planet” campaign.

In the thirty seconds or so the commercial was on, I was completely engaged through the mosaic of people, images and issues that flashed on the screen. It moved quickly and developed logically. A simple point – math can solve problems. They raise several everyday problems from something as inconvenient as traffic jams to something as serious as now-incurable diseases. The people in the commercial, supposedly IBM employees, spoke of how their company is using math to solve everyday problems, using their technology to build a “smarter planet.”

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They seamlessly link math and “smarts” to IBM, positioning themselves as a leader in the development of technology that will positively affect our most pressing problems.

These are serious times, and our country and our world are facing serious issues. This is a time for logic, for thought and for serious people. This ad campaign plays perfectly into its environment and people’s desire for serious solutions.

Minus the somewhat corny, “I am an IBMer,” quote at the end, this ad shows remarkable sensitivity to the times and plays into the best of people, not the lowest common denominator. I hope more companies follow the lead of IBM.

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