I do not understand IBM marketing

by Volker Weber

This also did not make sense, but it was cool.


An outstanding mail solution deserves outstanding marketing.

Martin Kautz, 2015-03-18

it is targeted at a US market that watches Jimmy Kimmel. The gentleman and the dog are frequently on the show.

John Head, 2015-03-18

IBM really spent money for this ... crap?
And, maybe it is targeted to US market. I just wonder waht the German ad would look like ... Yes, I have some names in mind, but I do not post them here ...

Ulrich Krause, 2015-03-18

I can hear the pitch meeting now.

IBM: I need a commercial that has both the production value of a local cable TV spot and is at the same time subtly racist.

Ad Wizards: Well I guess we can use a VHS filter to give it the look you want, and have a "Mexican" guy in a bolo tie speaking in a shitty accent.

IBM: Not racist enough

Ad Wizards: How about we have him carry a fucking Chihuahua.

Pat Sawyer, 2015-03-19

As an ex-IBM employee and as an American, this ad is nauseating and yes, embarrassing.

Bob Balaban, 2015-03-19

The more I watch it, the worse it becomes...

Tom Duff, 2015-03-19

Tom, stop watching! You're increasing the view count which will clearly lead to a promotion for the marketing team! ;-)

Alan Lepofsky, 2015-03-19

My main issue with this skit, and Verse marketing in general is "Who's the target audience?"
- Personal (consumer) use or businesses?
- Upgrade for existing Notes/Domino customers?
- Upsell for IBM Connections customers?
- Migration for Google or Microsoft customers?
- New customers, specifically Millennials?

Since this spot was playing during Kimmell and at SXSW, I went into it very excited that IBM would be trying to do something "cool." Instead, the skit portrayed a group of "well seasoned" business people in suits sitting around a conference room table in a cheesy office setting. Why not portray a more cutting edge set of people using Verse to help them get their work done?

HUGE missed opportunity IMO.

Alan Lepofsky, 2015-03-19

Damn... My bad.

Tom Duff, 2015-03-19

Original I suppose! At least they are marketing something!!!! Here in South Africa we would be lucky if we saw an IBM Street Pole advert. Here, in general, people think that IBM don't do software, only Microsoft does....

Steven Podrouzek, 2015-03-19

This is still one of my favorites.


I just can't help but see the parallels of OS/2 and Domino.

Adam Osborne, 2015-03-19

I am speechless, well almost.
I asked myself if this ad works within the Jimmy Kimmel show?
I don't really see it as very racist, but isn't the mexican&accent&bolo and a chihuahua not a bit boring as a gag by now?
Are the actors deliberately playing lousy?
Is it meant as a parody about IBM/Microsoft/Google/Apple/IT-business ads?
Somehow I have the impression, that I miss something.
IBM made really funny ads in the past.
If I miss something, the target audience should be able to get it. Any idea?

I wonder what the comments on Youtube will look like.

PS: If I did not miss anything: Dear IBM Marketing ... Oh bugger.

Christian Tillmanns, 2015-03-19

Makes you wonder who is in charge of IBM Marketing? Probably the dog ...

Miro Dolaptchiev, 2015-03-19

Holy mackerel, just when you think it can't get any verse.... .

Heiko Voigt, 2015-03-19

I was expecting Ron Jeremy walking in and starting a gang bang.

Peter Canaugher, 2015-03-19

"Ohhhh.... - Bad Dog...!!" - best part of the Ad.... ;-)

Markus Heyl, 2015-03-19

IBM Marketing, aren't they the same guys that spent a sheitload on the "Lotus Knows" campaign and then not long after killed the the brand name?

Grant Osborne, 2015-03-19

It's probably a good fit for that particular audience.

Where's the racism bit?

Andrew Magerman, 2015-03-19

@Andrew: Please describe that audience. I just don't have the imagination.

Christian Tillmanns, 2015-03-19

@Peter, you are cracking me up.

Volker Weber, 2015-03-19

Wow, that's a canyon-sized culture gap.

Lars Berntrop-Bos, 2015-03-19

I think I need to update my Linked in and expunge all references to IBM/Lotus. You know it's bad when I remove those, but leave 'Zombie Slaying'.

Mike McPoyle, 2015-03-19

@Andrew, Using stereotypes to sell products is deeply ingrained in American Ads. But its no more racist than using the stereotype of a drunk irishman, or any advertisements that used blackface. Anyways its what I see in the ad, an attempt at forced diversity through use of over the top stereotypes. If you don't agree thats fine, at least we can both agree the ad is probably the worst ad in IBM's history.

Pat Sawyer, 2015-03-19

My employer is heavily invested in IBM technology, so it is so sad, that IBM which was a leader in technology and business is now in such a bad state. Is there no one who can stop them shooting in their own feets.

Ralf M Petter, 2015-03-19

What the hell did I just watch?


Ben Poole, 2015-03-19

Yikes! Talk about out of touch. They might as well kill kids during the Super Bowl...

Reid Partlow, 2015-03-19

As a regular watcher of Jimmy Kimmel I found the piece funny and innocuous. That said, I can totally see where folks unfamiliar with the show, especially non-Americans, would feel different coming in with no context or history. Just remember, you were not the target audience. Jimmy Kimmel is one of the top late night talk show hosts in the country, and a very funny and intelligent guy. He is arguably the equal in quality to the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon (and formerly Jay Leno and Johnny Carson), and David Letterman (soon to be replaced by Stephen Colbert). He is very social media savvy as well, and has no doubt attracted a broad audience of intelligent, social savvy viewers that now know IBM Verse is a thing and that smart people should take a look at it. How is that a bad thing?

Kevin Pettitt, 2015-03-19

How can drugs be abolished in this world?

First legalize them, then give marketing for drugs to IBM.

Felix Binsack, 2015-03-19

@christian: Look at Kevin's answer. It's a particular kind of show, and I can imagine that it would be funny in context. Take it out of context and it must look over the top.

I can see the forced diversity there - two women, two non-whites. But that is not racism, no? I also see some stereotyping here, but to call it racism? I find the use of the word inflationary, used far too quickly. US sensitivities are obviously very different than the ones we have in Europe, so my question is genuine interest in the US perception. Christian seems to agree with me. So, other americans, would you consider this to be racist?

Andrew Magerman, 2015-03-20

@ Andrew: Watched a few of his shows - part of it - and some gags. Still don't get it. Is like every other run of the mill talk show.
Will think about it further.

Christian Tillmanns, 2015-03-20

I'm really enjoying the comments from non-USA viewers. Thank you, all, for broadening my mind.

Gregg Eldred, 2015-03-20

Never underestimate the marketing power of a little dog! Worked for Taco Bell!

Bill Dorge, 2015-03-20

Do they also sell enterprise software and services? ;-)

Volker Weber, 2015-03-20

I empathise with the non-American perspective on this. I'm sure it is very similar to the kind of head scratching I did years ago when I first watched the fawning coverage on UK TV news of some "superstar" English soccer player (sorry footballer) that I had never heard of. What I saw was some rather inarticulate muscle-head being treated by a locker room interviewer like some sort of royalty, and it was the beginning of the end of my hard-core sports fan phase (having realized that's exactly how "our" undeserving sports stars are treated as well).

In this case the cultural divide centers on humor rather than sports, but it shows how years of familiarity with a particular show, character, personality, or style of comedy pre-conditions an audience to accept a performance that in the absence of that familiarity might seem offensive or stupid. It is worth noting that "stupid" is often an element of comedy and certainly that was the case here, but for this audience at least I think it worked.

That said, I concur with @Gregg that all your comments are enlightening and perhaps IBM would do well to appreciate that in 2015 no piece of video can be limited just to it's "target audience".

Kevin Pettitt, 2015-03-20

Quit watching at 0:43, any reason to watch any further?

Hubertus Amann, 2015-03-20

> in 2015 no piece of video can be limited just to it's "target audience"

Exactly my thoughts about this.

Volker Weber, 2015-03-21

IBM used to have good ad's.. Who ever is commissioning them now has little clue about the market ... Check out this classic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LkQrtCIFA4

Giulio Campobassi, 2015-03-24

Not racist. somewhat humorous. I appreciated our more enlightened counterparts in the EU and other countries that seem less hung-up on labeling every little thing as potentially racist. We all need to move on, understand we are different in race, sex, culture, ethnicity, whatever (and that's good). That being said, this is not the class of advertisement I expected from IBM, but I agree with others that said, "at least they did something". Maybe a case of 'any publicity is good publicity'.

Tom Hillebrand, 2015-03-24

Here is a little context about this ad - The Jimmy Kimmel show is on late at night, so many people record it and watch it later. So that these people don't fast forward through all the ads, the show often stages ads like this that look like the rest of the show and feature characters from the show, like Guillermo. I can't explain this particular ad (wrong tone, wrong audience, not particularly funny or informative, etc.)

CJ Young, 2015-03-26

Comments on the youtube video are now disabled..... My comment is gone.

Very social

Paul Mooney, 2015-04-10

Damn Paul, you're stealing *my* job. It'll be *you* in the next VP book at this rate.

---* Bill

Bill Buchan, 2015-04-16

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