Saturday, October 1, 2011


As I have stated before in this space, I believe, though they don't win advertising awards (not cool enough, I guess) IBM does just about the best advertising in the world. It is ubiquitous, intelligent, thought-provoking and, dare I say it, influential. As my mentor said to me some time ago, "IBM does advertising that influences the Presidents of countries, not just the Presidents of awards shows.

In any event, as part of their 100th Anniversary IBM has a giant interactive exhibit at Lincoln Center. It's open for a few more weeks and my wife and I made it over there yesterday afternoon.

The exhibit is beautiful to look at and intelligently conceived. It does what advertising is supposed to do but what very little advertising does do. It "imparts useful information in an executionally brilliant way." All told, the exhibit includes a double billboard-sized LED message board, two informational timelines, a multi-screen ten-minute movie and interactive touch-screens. From start to finish, you've got about 30-45 minutes to take the whole thing in and it's time well spent.

From a macro point of view, IBM charts the course of thinking, or development, of progress. According to IBM, it goes like this.

First we see. (For instance, we noticed the stars.)
Then we map. (We drew their formations.)
Then we understand. (We plotted their locations, orbits and behaviors.)
Believe. (We believe we can learn more.)
Finally, we act. (We send up rockets and radio waves to learn even more.)

This model seems so simple and elegant when you write it down.
It probably applies to good advertising, good communications, intelligent, moving work.

The only thing that's missing is a good fart joke.