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March 10, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: IBM consulting ad


This is an ad campaign from a couple of years ago that I never could figure out.

How does a slimy tree root and the word "deeper" make anyone want to hire these people as consultants? Do they like eating dirt? Are they earthworm gardeners? I don't get it.


deeper... deeper... deeper... too deep.

Posted by: gmangw at March 10, 2006 12:19 AM

_@_v - can't root that one out...

Posted by: shesnailie_@_v at March 10, 2006 12:34 AM

I guess they meant they wanted to build deeper relationships and search deeper for solutions.

Of course, roots like those would imply they are quick, dirty, ugly and wired (GASP! people still connect things to WIRES!? ;) ) solutions, and further imply that they can get, well, root[kit?]ed, so Very Broken.

Posted by: game kid at March 10, 2006 12:35 AM


Posted by: herbie hancock at March 10, 2006 01:45 AM

Looks like an alien or something. Yeech I wouldn't want to work with them!

Posted by: piklocin at March 10, 2006 04:23 AM

Maybe they are try to say, "We get at the root of your problems."

Posted by: Julia at March 10, 2006 08:09 AM

Maybe they are trying to say, "We get at the root of your problems."

Posted by: Julia at March 10, 2006 08:10 AM

Many ad campaigns try to grab your attention with a large picture that is sexually oriented or scary. At first glance this may look like something scary such as an alien or a monster. But once they have drawn your attention, they get you to search the ad for answers. For example, why does this sign have roots? Well, because they already have your attention they are getting you to ponder, while also keeping in mind that this ad's company is IBM. So therefore they have had you thinking for 30 seconds about IBM which is more than enough to remember IBM's name.

Posted by: Ethan Skinner at March 10, 2006 08:32 AM

Maybe they are just saying they will do what ever it takes to get the job done in the "digging deeper to find the correct answers" sense... thats one ugly advertisement...

Posted by: Chaos at March 10, 2006 08:32 AM

Actually that tree root sort of looks like the torso of a woman and then she has 25 legs... A tree woman octopus... And I have NO IDEA why that popped into my head when I looked at it!

Posted by: Chaos at March 10, 2006 08:34 AM

Ethan, the only problem is that we spend our thirty seconds thinking,

"IBM is like a slimy tree stump? They want me to know that why? What is with 'deeper?' OH! I get it! This must be a type of negative advertisement, like during the presidential campaigns, sent out by a competitor! Well, it's working. Oh, hey, my thirty seconds are up."

Posted by: The Pondermatic at March 10, 2006 09:20 AM

GEEZ you guys obviously don't have degrees in advertising/marketing otherwise you would know what it means.

Wait a sec...neither do I !!!

gmangw is right too deep for the masses.


Posted by: ~ at March 10, 2006 10:33 AM

Seriously? An ad is broken because it kind of doesn't make sense and you think it's ugly? I'll go ahead and point out the obvious: now we're talking about it, therefore it's successful. But either way, this type of "broken" post could open up a huge can of bees.

Posted by: Matt at March 10, 2006 11:15 AM

It is not successful because we are talking about it. An ad becomes successful when it convicnes people to use the servies or buy the goods advertised.

Posted by: Chaos at March 10, 2006 12:04 PM

IBM kills trees so you don't have to.

Posted by: Capt. Wafter at March 10, 2006 01:02 PM

I'd have to agree that the ad isn't really broken. It doesn't really matter if the ad convinces you to buy anything or not...its what in business courses is referred to as "branding"...making something a household name more or less. Example, if you are going to buy cake mix, you think of something like betty crocker or hines, not because you've seen ads making you want them, more because you just know the names. I think that might be more the purpose of this ad.

But still...what the hell is "Deeper"???

Posted by: keny at March 10, 2006 02:39 PM

Deeper means deeper in debt. Which is what you'll be once you pay their high consultation fees.

Branding...maybe for wireless routers. Put the words Netgear, DLink, or Linksys in the white space and scratch out deeper and put Cat 5e and I think you'll have a better example of branding.

Posted by: Capt. Wafer at March 10, 2006 03:12 PM

For Matt:

An ad isn't successful only because it gets talked about.

It is successful when it COMMUNICATES and when it gets the intended audience to do a certain thing (buy, call, vote, etc.)

In my opinion this IBM ad, far from communicating, generates an adverse response and a negative feeling which, I suppose, wasn't what IBM wanted. So, I think it's absolutely broken.

Posted by: Sam at March 10, 2006 08:47 PM

They should replace the root with a pic of Ron Jeremy's ding-a-ling.

Posted by: Ron Mexico at March 10, 2006 09:44 PM

It means: You know how tree roots can get into a septic system and cost a lot of money? IBM costs a lot of money too.

Posted by: Another Bob at March 12, 2006 11:20 AM

Its an AIX thing.

Posted by: Jie-yin Wu at March 13, 2006 12:37 PM

This reminds me of an ad campaign I saw in some airports some years ago, from an asian company (don't remember which one, but it was a well-known one). The tag line was "Out of our minds, into your hands".

Posted by: Alex B at March 13, 2006 03:23 PM

Ha! IBM has made an ad so it will be published on mulitple "broken", we all know that IBM offers buisiness consulting services, and we are all talking about it...

Posted by: Joe at March 13, 2006 10:32 PM

those are roots. deeper... wait for it... roots. though, i'm not sure what that means. maybe that IBM keeps it real.

Posted by: fred at March 14, 2006 04:17 PM

First i think we got to see it from a business person perspective, that´s the target audience.

The roots of a company are a complex,not funniest part to manage and the source of a lot of problems, this ugliness maybe brings up those ideas. Now IBM gone deeper, this last word brings up movement and direction.Movement in ibm range of consultancy offers, and the focus of this new services.

Posted by: Rui Bordadágua at March 15, 2006 03:13 PM

It's symbolic. The roots mean that they want to form a deeper connection with their customers, or that they are reliable like an old tree's roots. Either way they could have gotten something better than those grotesque things. And get rid of that "Deeper", that's just plain weird. It could be broken in a sense, but I think it isn't broken, that that the people at IBM were just a little delerious when they thought of that marketing scheme.

P.S. I have nothing against IBM. They rule.

Posted by: joe at March 30, 2006 03:55 PM

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