Sun To Launch $50 Million Marketing Campaign

Sun Microsystems is embarking on a new US$50 million marketing campaign, it was revealed today. The company is pointing to success stories with clients like online auctioneer eBay, General Motors, and Major League Baseball in an effort to show the world how its products and services help connect people.

The rebranding effort, which includes a slim S-Curve to symbolize “sharing,” will be unveiled tomorrow. The campaign highlights the use of computer networks to do everything from play video games on cell phones to keep up on the latest sporting event or buy a car online, according to a Reuters report.

“Sharing is what we’ve done for the past two to three years,” Ingrid Van Den Hoogen, Sun’s vice president of brand experience and community marketing, told Reuters. “Once you share, you create a new growth opportunity.”

Spend Money To Make Money

Sun is sharing the wealth with the media these days with its $50 million makeover that seems to acknowledge that it takes money to make money. The investment is more than three times as much as the company spent on marketing last year. Sun invested nearly $16 million on advertising in 2004, according to tracking firm TNS Media Intelligence.

Butler Shine & Stern is handling the advertising creative work that includes outdoor, print and Internet advertising. Reuters reports one print ad depicts a line of people holding up a picture of the bumper of a vintage car bought on eBay. Each photo illustrates part of the chain of transactions that helped connect the car’s buyer and seller.

“We’ve obviously been dark in the market in terms of advertising,” Van Den Hoogen told Reuters.

Sun representatives did not respond to requests for comment this morning.

Branding for Dollars

Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff told LinuxInsider that Sun has been working toward a more consistent brand in recent months and using non-traditional methods to get its name in the media.

“We’ve already seen some of the user consistent packaging that Sun has introduced in some of its recent product announcements,” Haff said. “We’ve also seen a rationalization and real consistency about how they talk about different product lines. This is more than just a new box color. Sun realizes it’s important to tell a consistent story about its products and present them in a consistent way.”

In terms of non-traditional marketing, Sun provided the computer infrastructure for text messaging for a leg of U2’s current concert tour. These types of promotions are designed to raise brand awareness, according to analysts. General Motors, eBay, and U2 are names that people recognize.

“Sun’s target here isn’t necessarily Joe Consumer, but these are names that people can identify with,” Haff said. “People understand what these companies do and therefore can understand how Sun fits into that value chain.”

Haff said the $50 million marketing budget is designed to get Sun back on the “to be considered” list: “This campaign is really to get them a shot. Sun will have to have the products and capabilities to win them once they are in the door.”

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