New York’s Times Square is now adorned with a six-storey billboard – arguably the planet’s most prestigious outdoor site – promoting Windows’ deadly adversary Linux.

The space was booked by IBM, which is now hyping Linux’s free operating system, and signals the launch of a new multi-million dollar 'eServer' ad campaign that also extolls the benefits of the first credible alternative to Microsoft’s flagship brand Windows.

Says Andy Berndt, senior partner and senior copywriter at IBM’s agency, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York: “The billboard on 42nd Street is absolutely positively a stake in the ground for IBM to say we believe in this thing so much that we'll find the biggest outdoor spot in New York City and put our position out there. We're hoping the Linux community will be proud of that.”

Newspaper and magazine ads break next week, and additional outdoor sites have been booked in California’s Silicon Valley. The campaign will then roll out in Europe and Asia. Phase two of the print campaign starts May, but there are as yet no plans to harness TV.

All IBM server products with the exception of its I-series are now Linux-enabled – and that omission will be rectified within a couple of months. A major e-mail marketing drive will also target the open source community.

News source: Advertising Age - Daily Deadline