IBM Outdoor, Case study IBM OUTDOOR AS UTILITY by Ogilvy Paris

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Industry IT Solutions & Professional Networks
Media Outdoor, Billboard, Poster, Transportation & Vehicles, Case study
Market France
Agency Ogilvy Paris
Executive Creative Director Susan Westre
Creative Director Ginevra Capece
Photographer Bruno Bicalho Cavalhaes
Account Supervisor Muriel Benitah
Released June 2013


Cannes Lions 2013
Media Lions Product & Service; Corporate Image & Information Gold
Media Lions Use of Media; Best Use of Ambient Media: Large Scale Gold
Design Lions Posters Silver
Design Lions Public Spaces Silver

Credits & Description

Type of entry: Use of Media
Category: Best Use of Ambient Media: Large Scale
Advertiser: IBM
Product/Service: SMARTER CITIES
Chief Creative Officer: Chris Garbutt (Ogilvy France)
Executive Creative Director: Susan Westre (Ogilvy France)
Creative Director: Ginevra Capece (Ogilvy France)
Copywriters: Lauren Elkins/Andrew Mellen (Ogilvy France)
Art Directors: Daniel Diego Lincoln/Chris Rowson (Ogilvy France)
Photographer: Bruno Bicalho Cavalhaes (Ogilvy France)
Account Supervisor: Muriel Benitah (Ogilvy France)
Global Brand Enhancement Program Lead: Suzanne Assaf (IBM)
Concept: Daniel Diego Lincoln/Stephane Santana (Ogilvy France)

Results and Effectiveness

Primarily designed to promote the IBM social site 'People for Smarter Cities' an interactive and innovative platform now exists where citizens are encouraged to contribute smart ideas for the betterment of their cities - this new type of outdoor took the communication to a new level.
Initially launched in London and Paris, for the first time a new kind of ambient was used in to show how advertising can also bring utility to citizens. An extension to its already successful Smarter Cities campaign, IBM has plans to take this idea to cities around the world and inspire citizens to think about simple ways they can help make their cities smarter. IBM's other agencies are also interested in implementing this idea in the many locations where events happen around the world. New concepts bringing in other utility purposes are in development. To see the amazing effort, go to

Creative Execution

Since the 'People for Smarter Cities' project is all about building smarter cities, we wanted the advertising to actually bring utility to the city as well. So, we created ads with a purpose – a bench, shelter and ramp that are not only beautiful, but can be useful to city dwellers. The short, simple message drives people to the site to share ideas and be inspired.
The 'Outdoors as utility' is one part of a 360° deployment including the following assets:
- viral videos (launched with a video hosting and distribution strategy).
- social media activation /digital influence.
- paid and organic search.
- flash media banners.
- event material.
- emailings.

Insights, Strategy and the Idea

The main objective of the global initiative was to drive traffic and citizen engagement on the social platform, an IBM initiative that gathers forward thinkers who want to improve cities. These 'forward thinkers' target includes citizens, city leaders as well as IBMers.
To reach this objective and our target audience, which was large and a broader audience than just B2B, we developed an ad that needed to be engaging & relevant for any citizen:
- Outdoor & messaging that could work anywhere in the world & be localizable.
- That could work for events, ambient but also OOH.
The insight that 'good ideas don’t have to be big to be smart' shaped the outdoor idea and is at the heart of the website experience.
This insight encourages participation and involvement from all three targets – and is relevant to all 3 target groups.