March Madness is back, and so is Charles Barkley, as an IT guy for fictional company Gordon & Taylor, in his annual pitch for tech services provider CDW.
This year’s campaign features Barkley back in the company’s offices (having been hired several years ago to help the firm’s basketball team, and later to lose to business prospects on the golf course), and puts a greater emphasis on CDW’s partner companies APC, HP, Intel, Lenovo and VMWare.
“With the increasing complexity of technology services, it makes it important that we demonstrate our understanding of the challenges our customers face,” CDW’s marketing director, Dean Lamb, tells Marketing Daily.
Most of the new commercials depict how CDW’s employees work with the company’s technology partners to create tech solutions. One commercial, for instance, depicts Gordon & Taylor’s CEO christening a new server by breaking a bottle of champagne over it, creating smoke and causing the indoor sprinkler system to go off. The IT team informs the CEO that CDW’s work with VMWare has moved the company’s critical application to the cloud, and the mishap has had no repercussions.
Another spot features Barkley pitching a string of new products, including “The Rebounder,” a dating app for the “newly available.” The IT team also informs the CEO that CDW’s work with HP and Intel has given them the bandwidth to create such an app. The campaign, once again from Ogilvy & Mather in Chicago, continues the tagline, “People who get IT.”
“The campaign is really [about] the power of ‘and,’” Lamb says. “We’re looking at it as ‘CDW and our customers,’ and ‘CDW and our partners,” and ‘CDW and our people.’”
Over the past several years, CDW has used the NCAA basketball tournament to build excitement around its campaigns. (This year’s effort also includes a spot with former stars Scottie Pippen and Rick Mahorn as new additions to the IT team.) Each year, the campaign gets a bit more refined, Lamb says.
“We do a lot of learning through these campaigns,” he says. “We know the March Madness audience is very engaged and we’re leveraging that engagement and excitement.”
This year, however, the surrounding elements of the campaign will live on longer than the tournament, he says. The campaign’s landing page, for instance, will remain live through the year as a place to show off the company’s capabilities and expertise, he says.