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Advertising with a Purpose – IBM’s Latest Work

By Megan Jackson, Account Service

It’s hard to ignore an advertisement that provides an immediate positive experience for people.clip_image002Wouldn’t you read this advertisement if you were caught in the rain? I know I would.

IBM’s latest advertisements in France are meant to be useful for people who pass by them. This campaign is called “People for Smarter Cities” and encourages people to share their ideas to make their city a better place. You can share your ideas by signing up through one of your social media accounts to begin contributing. Each current outdoor advertisement in France is crafted in a way that brings people together through its function. Examples of IBM’s ads that serve a dual purpose include a ramp over stairs, a bench and an overhang (to protect from the weather). See the video here.

After seeing this video, I immediately thought about TheFunTheory.com which was a Volkswagen initiative in 2009 launched by DDB Stockholm. The campaign was centered on the idea to change people’s behavior for the better by making activities more fun (e.g. world’s deepest trash bin, a piano staircase and bottle bank arcade machine). It was an effort to make people act more responsibly, and consider driving environmentally friendly cars. There was a FunTheory contest held in 2009, and the winner created a Speed Camera Lottery to reward law abiding drivers. This initiative also improved a city by encouraging people to change their behavior for the greater good.

IBM’s “People for Smarter Cities” advertisements started in France, but the idea is meant to be carried out on a global scale. People from all over the world can post about improving their cities. Hopefully, more cities will have outdoor advertisements with a dual purpose. And, hopefully this initiative will result in sparking people’s interest to really improve their city.

It’s nice to see outdoor advertisements that are unique, useful and thought provoking. Advertisements that provide more than pure entertainment to engage people. Advertisements with a purpose – a purpose to truly better people’s lives — shouldn’t go unnoticed.

Well done, Ogilvy & IBM.

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