Ogilvy and Mather unveils a global TV and print campaign for IBM this
week, starring the spoof heavy-metal band, Spinal Tap.
The campaign, backed by pounds 3 million in the UK and with a global
spend of dollars 60 million, kicks off this Thursday to promote the
computer giant’s involvement with the Olympic Games, which are based in
A month of heavyweight TV activity will follow, using the ‘solutions for
a small planet’ subtitle format developed by O&M 18 months ago. Each of
the ads focuses on a specific area of IBM’s involvement with the games,
using unexpected characters and unusual situations to tell the story.
The launch TV spot stars members of Spinal Tap chatting to each other in
the middle of an ear-splitting performance. Subtitles spell out their
inaudible conversation. ‘You know, Derek,’ the guitarist shouts, ‘our
third comeback tour could become a logistical nightmare. We’ve got
nutritionists, au pairs...’
‘Not to mention,’ Derek adds, ‘the erupting volcano apparatus.’ Another
band member replies: ‘Let’s bring in IBM. They help plan, manage and run
the Olympics and they’ve been at it since the 60s.’ To which the other
members of the band answer: ‘So have we.’
A second ad, set in the US, shows a man lying in the dentist’s chair.
The dentist chats to him as she works, somehow managing to understand
his garbled replies as he tells her about his business problems. She
suggests he talks to IBM because of its experience with the Olympics.
The worldwide TV commercials will be supported by a two-week pan-
European poster campaign.
The TV spots were written by Charlie Tercek and art directed by Susan
Westre at O&M New York. The posters were created by O&M Paris’s
copywriter, Brian Millar, and his art director, Marcus Fernandez.