Has IBM Figured Out The Art Of The Sale Better Than Bill & Jerry?

So the broadcast video ads with Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld for Microsoft are over (for now).Maybe you're among those who disliked the ads because they never answered the simplest of fundamentals of an a: What are these guys selling?

So the broadcast video ads with Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld for Microsoft are over (for now).

Maybe you're among those who disliked the ads because they never answered the simplest of fundamentals of an a: What are these guys selling?

So traipse on over to YouTube then (or click below) and say what you think about this online video ad. It's from IBM. It's on the dominant video file sharing site for the average Joe and Sally. And it's selling ... a mainframe computer.

You might not find the faux sales chief here no more funny than Gates or Seinfeld. And the tag line "It's Like A Barn" won't get hearts beating an more than the idea that Windows breaks down walls (in the latest Microsoft ads on behalf of Vista).

But it has gotten a couple hundred thousand views, which is a decent number for an online ad on a venue that demands a certain amount of quirkiness if you're going to get the attention of visitors. All of whom are reaching you via a computer. Sure, it's a variant of the one you're selling, but it shows a certain hipness to go there and try to connect with potential buyers of what you're selling, that way.

And sets IBM up to understand better what it takes to succeed in a medium that by 2010 will be sucking in 20% of all video ad dollars, according to Geoff Ramsey, the CEO of eMarketer, at the Online Marketing, Media and Advertising Conference in New York Thursday.

This year, about $505 million will be spent on online video advertising, by eMarketer's estimate. That will hit $5.8 billion five years from now.

And, like with text ads, it's not likely to be "mass" advertising -- broadcasting -- that matters here. Targeting the right audience. Letting them redistribute the ad (called .. sharing it) and measurability will be what counts, Ramsey said.

Scale is out, he said. Impact is in.

You will be the judge of whether IBM or Microsoft or any other tech advertiser has learned the art of this sale, yet.

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