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IBM: Blue Velocity (BV) Global Campaign

Agency: Ogilvy

Business & Cultural Context:

IBM lacked credibility in the startup space and were seen as technology providers for large corporations with big budgets and slow moving IT departments; not fast, reliable and offering value. The dotcom crash had made VCs more risk averse, and put more focus on "time to profit".

A startup owner we spoke with summed the challenge: "IBM needs to approach us like they are a start up themselves. Don’t assume that we are automatically giving them respect for the brand that was developed many years ago.”


Customer Insight:

NetGen have changed the rules of the game and re-defined the way we conduct business and deal with companies. They don't believe in old-fashioned management styles of bureaucracy and red tape and have little time for traditional marketing. They function in an informal business environment, with “deals often done in diners”. 

Campaign Idea:

IBM Blue Velocity: Smaller, Less Blue.

Beyond the Campaign:

  • We worked with IBM's sales force to change their dress code and lingo. We got them to get rid of the jacket and tie, roll up their shirt sleeves and don a pair of sunglasses.

  • Next we created an new BV identity with business cards, sales training guides, product manuals and customer brochures with language that was far from the usual IBM corporate jargon.


The BV campaign and program was launched in USA, Canada, Italy, India and Japan and quickly became IBM's most successful effort targeting the Net Gen audience.

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