Cisco Bows 'Digital Cribs' To Showcase Networks

Digital CribsCisco Systems' latest campaign, "Digital Cribs," pays out about $90,000 in cash prizes to moviemakers that are willing to create documentaries. The three-minute webisodes need to feature celebrities--well-known experts in their field--demonstrating a passion for networking and electronic devices in their homes.

The effort to educate consumers on networking products stems from a recent Cisco survey asking people: "Why haven't you gotten a home network?" Answers reveal that rather than price, ease of use or installation woes, consumers do not know the benefits--and those who have home networks don't realize they have one. Many simply use their Cisco-brand Linksys router to wirelessly connect their laptop or PC to the Internet.

In the survey, 64% of respondents did not see the need to have a home network, and 16% did not understand what it means to have one. Most responses came from the Untied States and Western Europe.



Ken Wirt, VP of consumer marketing at Cisco Systems, says Digital Cribs fits into a bigger Web 2.0 marketing strategy to educate and raise awareness for the networking giant's products and services. "If this is what we're promoting, we have to walk the talk," he says.

The quest to find people who have a passion for digital gadgets and networking technology led Cisco--which makes set-top boxes and wireless routers--to market the campaign through www.digitalcribs.com, along with 50 video aggregation sites like Google's YouTube, and 180 social media and blogger sites.

Wirt calls the Digital Cribs marketing promotion "aspirational"--an outreach to show how people who are passionate about technology use networking and electronic devices in their homes. To get started, Cisco tapped ad agency Ogilvy to select the first three people for the videos. The webisodes feature video blogger Megan Asha, NBA Houston Rockets basketball star Shane Battier, and video artist Lincoln Schatz.

By the end of this year, Cisco plans to debut more than 40 webisodes demonstrating home networks. Some will come from a competition between film school rivals University of Southern California and New York University. Students will produce eight webisodes during the contest, which runs through the fall semester.

As part of the Digital Cribs marketing campaign, Cisco signed on with filmaka.com in hopes of getting videographers worldwide on board, too. Moviemakers must submit entrees by Oct. 13. Voting and judging follow. Cisco will award 10 Brand Awards of $7,500 each, 10 Voters Choice Awards of $5,000 each, and a chance to have the clip featured on Cisco.com or in the company's booth at trade shows.

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