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IBM kicks off $800m ad campaign with spoof creative

NEW YORK - IBM is to invest as much as $800m (£513m) in advertising over the next 12 months to promote what it calls its 'on-demand computing' initiative.

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It has started the push with an advertising campaign created by Ogilvy & Mather, part of the WPP Group, for a fictional firm called Bagotronics. This broke earlier in the week, in preparation for an eight-page advertising insert that will appear in today's New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the San Jose Mercury.

The company has also created a spoof Bagotronics website, where visitors are able to buy products such as a bag of Magic Business Beans. When clicking on the products, it invites users to come back today, October 31. The site also features a spoof infomercial, which offers business people the chance to buy a "real working time machine" so they can go back and erase costly mistakes. It finishes with the line: "Take business in a whole new direction -- backwards!"

In a report, Chris Wall, executive creative director at Ogilvy & Mather, said: "In a weird way the gizmos served to illustrate the purpose of what IBM is doing in a physical form, and also the hype and unfulfilled promises of the technology world."

Reuters reports that IBM chief executive Sam Palmisano has said that the company would spend between $700m and $800m on this campaign over the coming year. This is up from the $314.8m that the computer giant spent in 2001.

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