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3/28/2007
02:49 PM
Michael Singer
Michael Singer
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IBM's Server Piñata: Where's My Stick?

IBM's marketing campaigns have come a long way since the '80s. Anyone here get a teary-eyed nostalgic feeling thinking about the old Charlie Chaplin series? No? Me neither.

IBM's marketing campaigns have come a long way since the '80s. Anyone here get a teary-eyed nostalgic feeling thinking about the old Charlie Chaplin series? No? Me neither.Fast forward to the frustrations of 2007. Big Blue's latest stunt is a series of homemade videos featuring a small cluster of IT guys seeking revenge on back-end servers that failed them in some way.

Middle of the desert. A hog-tied white box. Witty dialogue ensues.

"Hey, man. Remember that server crash that happened over Christmas?" "Yea..." "That's the one where you had to come in..." "Oh, is that the ONE?"

Cut to a shot where the server is slung over a tree branch and mercilessly smacked till it breaks open, revealing... candy.

Gee, Einstein, if your server had candy inside of it, no wonder it died on you.

IBM created four snippets for the series. And if you haven't guessed, IBM is trying to sell its System i servers. Other clips include rigging up a server with skateboard wheels and riding it like a luge down a hill. A third involves Diet Coke and Mentos with pretty lame results. Also, don't worry if you miss the guy dressed up like King Kong and tipping over servers made to look like downtown. It's passable.

Gratuitous violence and servers, though -- I like that. That's something I think everyone can relate to even if they have IBM hardware and software.

At least it is a bit more realistic than that eerie Linux commercial with the towheaded kid and Mohammed Ali.

Of course, my favorite IBM marketing stunt was its Peace, Love, Linux campaign. The company hired kids and street taggers to spray paint Tux and the two other icons on some city sidewalks. A feat, I might add, that cost them more money to clean up than to launch.

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