Designing a smarter planet

In the midst of the meltdown of the U.S. financial system, the ongoing consequences of a global energy crisis, and a broken health care system, IBM recognized a unique opportunity to provide leadership. The timing was right to show the world how innovative ideas, powered by new technologies, could solve some of the world’s biggest problems.

Based on this, Ogilvy New York and IBM developed the “Let’s Build a Smarter Planet” campaign concept and engaged Office to establish the visual language.

Office IBM SmarterPlanet Airport Signage
Office IBM Quote

Inspired by Rand’s “wink”

The global campaign featured essays describing thought-provoking solutions for dozens of issues — from reducing road traffic and city crime, to improving food safety and local water supplies. Our challenge was to create a graphic language that could illustrate these complicated solutions in a way that was visually arresting and distinctive, yet simple and approachable enough to be easily understood around the world.

Inspired by the creative vision that designer Paul Rand developed for IBM several decades ago, we adopted his boldness and “wink” in a way that’s unusually approachable for big tech. The icons were designed to be as provocative, vibrant and relevant as the ideas they represent.

The icons appeared around the globe, in print, digital and outdoor advertising, trade show experiences, and an attraction at Walt Disney World’s Epcot.

Office IBM SmarterPlanet Icons Banking Buildings
Office IBM SmarterPlanet Icons Cities CloudComputing
Office IBM SmarterPlanet Icons Education Electronics
Office IBM SmarterPlanet Icons Energy Food
Office IBM SmarterPlanet Icons Healthcare IT
Office IBM SmarterPlanet Icons Mining Products
Office IBM SmarterPlanet Icons Retail RiskMgmt
Office IBM SmarterPlanet Icons Transit Work
Office IBM SmarterPlanet Icons Communication Gov
Office IBM SmarterPlanet Icons Public Safety Water
Office IBM SmarterPlanet Posters
Office IBM SmarterPlanet Signage
Office IBM SmarterPlanet Epcot Display

Making smarter business decisions

Following the successful launch of the campaign, Ogilvy New York asked Office to help develop a new series of ads for IBM’s business services. Based on the advanced analytics that help businesses predict what’s coming next, we illustrated the concept of spotting patterns and crystallizing trends to make smarter decisions.

Office IBM BusinessServices Posters 1
Office IBM BusinessServices Posters 2
Office IBM BusinessServices Posters 3

Increasing brand value

The Smarter Planet campaign became an overarching framework for IBM’s growth strategy, generating $3 billion in revenue and double-digit growth from more than 6,000 client engagements. According to the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands Study, following the campaign, IBM increased their brand value by 20% (representing $11.3 billion dollars), in a category that only grew by 2% overall in a tough economic climate. IBM’s stock price increased 64% against a Dow that grew just 14%, resulting in a market cap increase of approximately $50 billion.

Project Scope

Marketing campaign (with Ogilvy)