The Pitch A balding butterball stumbles through a barren, Tatooine-like landscape. He's on the search for water, no doubt, but instead he finds a cluster of fridge-sized servers—the gods are obviously displeased with our afflicted protagonist. "The servers are too hot!" he exclaims, before crumbling in a heap. Moments from death, however, a bespectacled angel appears—the archetypal IT geek, passing along a message of sweet salvation. Turns out the desert scenario was all in Butterball's tortured mind, and he's just passed out at the base of a nifty IBM BladeCenter—a server ostensibly designed to run cooler than its competitors. All in all, a no-nonsense, slightly ham-fisted spot—as well as a salvo in an increasingly bitter server war twixt IBM and HP. And so begineth an era in which enterprise hardware shall be marketed like Fruit Loops—what an exciting time to be alive.
Rip-Off Of Haven't manufacturers of cheap, swilly beer been using the lost-in-the-desert scenario for ages? Although their spots usually end with the protagonist discovering a trove of Bud Light and lots of jiggly girls in teddys, which I'd say are far more desirable prizes than a lesson about the new BladeCenter's operating temperature.
The Spin Unbeknownst to most of the millions of baseball fans who've recently been bombarded by this ad, IBM is taking an overt swipe at HP, maker of the rival BladeSystem. It's IBM's recent contention that HP's blade servers run too hot, and thus fry memory chips at an alarming rate. HP, of course, begs to differ, claiming that its own lab tests have fingered BladeCenters as the scorchers of the two. Trouble is, HP doesn't have a semi-comical commercial vouching for the BladeSystems' relative frigidity. So point to IBM for simply recognizing that, yes, there are IT geeks with purchasing power who watch pro sports. Will HP counter with mainstream advertising of its own, or will it continue working the drab trade-mag channels? With tens or hundreds of millions dollars at stake, it shouldn't be long till we see a counter from HP—perhaps the company still has Gwen Stefani under contract? I'd love to hear her salient BladeSystem thoughts.