IBM Film MADRID by Ogilvy & Mather New York

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Industry IT Solutions & Professional Networks
Media Film
Market United States
Agency Ogilvy & Mather New York
Art Director Jillian Abramson
Copywriter Dov Zmood
Released June 2012


Cannes Lions 2012
PR Lions Best Use of Digital PR Bronze

Credits & Description

Type of entry: Technique
Category: Best Use of Digital PR
Advertiser: IBM
Product/Service: IBM
Advertiser IBM
Product IBM
Type of Entry: Technique
Category: Best Use of Digital PR
Advertiser/Client: IBM
Product/Service: IBM
Entrant Company: OGILVY NEW YORK, USA
DM/Advertising Agency: OGILVY NEW YORK, USA
Group Creative Director: Jason Marks (Ogilvy)
Creative Directors: Rob Jamieson/Chris Van Oosterhout (Ogilvy)
Copywriter: Dov Zmood (Ogilvy)
Art Director: Jillian Abramson (Ogilvy)
Executive Digital Producer: Tracy Moore (Ogilvy)
Senior Producer: Chenau Wingard (Ogilvy)
Associate Producer: Anna Santiago (Ogilvy)
Project Manager: Ian Crowley (Ogilvy)
Developer: Gicheol Lee (Ogilvy)
Associate Director Of Information Architecture: Dan Kawasaki (Ogilvy)
Chief Creative Officer (NA): Steve Simpson (Ogilvy)
World-Wide Executive Creative Director (IBM): Susan Westre (Ogilvy)
Describe the campaign/entry
On March 11 2004, terrorists bombed train stations in central Madrid simultaneously during rush hour. Because city departments had trouble communicating, response was slow and many lives were lost. After the attack, Madrid realised it needed to improve its emergency response system. So the city worked with IBM to build a new, state of the art command centre that has vastly improved coordination among police, ambulance and fire units.
All of this made Madrid safer. But safety is a feeling as much as it is a fact. Thus IBM set out to use communications to spread word of the new command centre so citizens could feel more confident in the safety of their city. We built a non-linear, immersive interactive experience to give users a first hand view of the new system in action. The site combines documentary footage and an interactive map of the city to give users the experience of riding along with Madrid’s first responders as they respond to actual emergencies.
To spread word to the public, we invited news media, opinion-leaders and ordinary citizens to try the online experience to see how the city had truly become safer. As a result, Madrid’s news media and digital influencers circulated press coverage and earned media about the new command centre around the entire city. Today, awareness of the new command centre is at an all time high: a city that has become safer now feels safer too.
Describe the brief from the client
We defined our audiences as the citizens of Madrid as well as Government and Security leaders worldwide (with whom IBM conducts ongoing research), and set goals to:
- Make the people of Madrid know and experience the achievements of the CISEM since the 2004 bombings.
- Draw local and international site press and attention to the IBM solution in place
- Drive visitors to the IBM Smarter Cities/IBM Madrid site
Influence other cities around the world to adopt IBM Smarter City/Emergency response solutions


IBM’s dedicated online experience generated 6 times more traffic than the typical IBM marketing site, with over 286,000 unique visitors in 1 year. The client enjoyed front-page headlines in the city regarding the solution’s deployment, and received local and international commendation for its unique collaboration with the city. As a result of the engagement in Madrid, IBM is now working on several such projects with cities around the world.

Creative Execution

First, IBM issued a press release on its website, which was connected to a case study video on IBM’s Smarter Cities page. Following this, IBM launched banners ads to drive viewership to the landing site. To drive the bulk of visitors to the site and foster public recognition, we targeted and invited members of the press, influential bloggers and citizens to engage with the online content, who then spread the word in print news, online blogs, and other earned media channels. Local headlines brought local awareness to the collaboration and informed the public about one of the world’s most advanced emergency response systems now in place.

Major cities around the world have continued to suffer debilitating terrorist attacks in the post 9-11 era. Compounded by on-going and imminent natural disasters, the need is higher than ever for cities to heighten their emergency response systems – and to assure their citizens that their government is investing in technology that has their public safety at top priority. IBM is at the forefront of providing the technological infrastructure cities need; this was an opportunity both to merchandise this fact to leaders and to reassure their citizenry.

The CISEM solution had transformed emergency response time in Madrid. Now, it was time for PR to make the people of Madrid feel the resulting safety for themselves – and to do so in a way that would not be discounted as a commercial plug or political propaganda. IBM and the City of Madrid had to foster local belief from the ground up, until the message was circulated in local newspapers and media outlets. This then drove opinion-leading audiences to the landing site itself. Throughout we sought to let people experience safety for themselves.