IBM: A boy and his atom

Ogilvy & Mather New York


IBM should be acclaimed as one of – if not the – most innovative companies in the world. But it isn't. This is the story of how planning identified an opportunity to change this. We spotted an approaching cultural wave of positivity towards science. To catch it, we conducted research not with consumers, but inside IBM's research department to find the right story. And we identified the critical success factors for how our story should be told to ensure that – with no paid media budget – people would share it worldwide.

As a result, a highly technical and somewhat abstruse innovation in nano-electronics and data storage became a Guinness World Record holder, IBM's most shared piece of content ever and a Cannes Gold Lion winner.

IBM's stop-motion animated movie "A Boy and His Atom" is a story of the nano-scale. But it's also a story of planning.

The woes of innovation invisibility