IBM: Flashing Zebra Crossing
With solutions for today’s challenges in traffic, energy, safety and more, IBM is striving towards a ‘Smarter Planet’. A vision that goes beyond a mere business proposition. IBM wanted to get this vision across in the Netherlands. But due to a limited communications budget IBM doesn’t use mass media. So how do you tell that IBM’s Smarter Planet vision is about working on new solutions to make our world better? We needed to communicate the message that IBM strives for a Smarter Planet in a simple and compelling way. Not by telling, but by experiencing.
Building a Smarter Planet starts with challenging the status quo. Thinking in an unrestricted way about what can be improved. Like children do. They come up with surprising questions and original ideas. So to come up with smarter solutions, you have to think as free as children do. We wanted people to experience the effect of this fresh way of thinking. For this real life experiment we started asking children for smart ideas. Then we chose one of the ideas and executed it. The kid’s idea was to make street crossings safer by making the zebra crossing light up when you walk on it. We built one in the busiest street of Rotterdam and watched what happened.
The unique execution with the flashing zebra crossing caught the attention of the public. In combination with the billboard explaining the kid’s idea, it made people realize anything can happen if you challenge the status quo. The billboard directed people to IBM’s Smarter Planet website to see more smart solutions that kids came up with. People reacted positively surprised. It made them realize we can make the world a bit better with smart solutions. And that’s exactly what IBM wanted to convey.
Advertising Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Creative Directors: Darre van Dijk, Henk Nieuwenhuis
Copywriters: Henk Nieuwenhuis, Joost van Nistelrooij
Art Directors: Darre van Dijk, Oscar Flinterman
Agency Producer: Brenda Bentz van den Berg
Strategy Director: Mariette Hamer
Account Manager: Zilla Smith