IBM Bows Mainframe Ads

To support the launch of its new z800 mainframe, IBM Corp. is rolling out a set of new advertisements — its first ads in a decade to promote its high-margin mainframe business.

The ads, which are running in major business dailies including the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The San Jose Mercury News, are aimed at publicizing Armonk, New York-based IBM’s low-cost, entry-level z800 machine.

The z800, codenamed “Raptor,” is designed to attract enterprises looking to trade up from their server farms to one (or several) mainframes. The theory is that by switching to a mainframe system, businesses can get better reliability while saving money on technology management and more mundane expenses like floor space and energy costs.

Of course, big iron has traditionally been prohibitively expensive for the majority of mid-sized companies — a fact that IBM is hoping to change that by offering the z800 as a sort of stripped-down mainframe supporting newer operating systems and applications (like accounting, Web serving and CRM software).

Touching on the theme of affordability, the headline for the ad reads: “The power of a mainframe. The total surprise of owning one.”

Copy for the ads focus on the z800’s cost-saving features — like its Linux support — in addition to its high-performance benefits, like logical partitioning.

“It’s an effort to go after customers who have never had a mainframe in the past, who are using Linux and are looking at the advantages of consolidating their servers,” said an IBM spokesman.

Spending was not disclosed on the ads, which were designed by Big Blue’s advertising agency of record, WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather.

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