Campaign: “DCX Man”
Goal: Show how Brocade DCX Backbone architecture can help IT professionals handle the day-to-day challenges of running data centers
Duration of campaign: January to present
Integrated elements: Print, online, events, collateral, promotional merchandise
Results: More than 15,000 visitors to DCX Man Web site in first four days of campaign; increased brand awareness metrics; increased leads and sales
Agency: Doremus, San Francisco
It's a bird. ... It's a plane. ... It's DCX Man! Created to defend data centers everywhere, DCX Man is the centerpiece of an integrated campaign developed for Brocade Communications Systems by Doremus, San Francisco. The superhero was created to promote Brocade DCX Backbone, new data center fabric architecture introduced in January.
For Brocade, the campaign was an opportunity to introduce the new architecture to IT managers in a fun, user-friendly way and increase brand awareness.
“For many years, we have been marketing behind large OEMs,” said Tom Buiocchi, VP-worldwide marketing at Brocade, pointing to computer server and data storage manufacturers including Dell Inc., EMC Corp., HP and IBM Corp.
“This was an opportunity for us to have more presence and dialogue with our end-user customers. We can't do it with hundreds of millions of marketing dollars. We needed a cost-effective campaign that would create a viral effect.”
So Brocade turned to its agency of record, San Francisco-based Doremus, to come up with a campaign that would engage IT managers and create a buzz in the industry.
“We created this superhero, DCX Man, to solve the problems these folks are dealing with every day,” said John Mannion, exec VP-director of client relations at Doremus.
Those problems include the explosive growth of data, the challenges of managing data centers and integrating data, applications and storage. “For the people trying to manage all this, it becomes overwhelming,” Mannion said.
The DCX Man campaign began with a print ad that was designed to look like a comic book cover. It showed an IT manager asleep at his desk at 2 a.m., while evil forces described as “The Network” take over the data center.
“Another data center under our control. ... Now we can sell him anything,” says one of the evil characters.
Copy at the bottom of the ad reads, “Will the world's data center evolve for good or evil? The story continues at www.dcxman.com.”
On the microsite, users can read the back story of DCX Man, whose father was a Russian data center manager and whose mother was the data center cleaning woman. DCX Man was born in the data center and never left.
Also on the site, users can read the complete comic book, “The Adventures of DCX Man”; play a DCX Man video game; send in suggestions about what superpowers DCX Man should develop; watch a video about the evolution of data centers; and learn about Brocade data center fabric architecture.
“If you look at the demographics of the people in the target audience, they read comic books and they play online games,” Buiocchi said. “DCX Man has become a popular cult figure that has really appealed to the people who use our products and live in the depths of data centers.”
The online campaign proved so successful, with more than 15,000 visitors during the first four days after launch, that Brocade expanded it to events, collateral and merchandise.
At EMC World, a three-day event for IT professionals held in Las Vegas in May, Brocade hired an actor to dress up in a DCX Man costume, appear at the company's booth and roam around the conference. Attendees could collect points by spotting DCX Man in breakout sessions or on the show floor, with opportunities to win prizes.
Brocade also handed out 5,000 DCX Man action figures at the show, an eight-page comic book, T-shirts and metal lunchboxes. After EMC World, some of the action figures started showing up on eBay, selling for more than $30 each. Fans have also created DCX Man fan pages on Facebook.
“It has created a cultlike following with our customers and also the sales force,” Buiocchi said.
The campaign has also resulted in increased brand awareness and associated brand attributes, according to Brocade's annual brand tracking study conducted in February.
The study tracked message awareness on key brand attributes, including “Brocade gives me the infrastructure I need” and “Brocade is a partner I can trust for providing exactly what I need.”
Some of the brand and messaging metrics increased by 35 to 40 percentage points over the last year, Buiocchi said.
Also, Brocade had a record quarter in the second quarter, fueled by sales of DCX Backbone. “I'd love to attribute it all to our marketing efforts, but there were a lot of things in place, including a great product,” Buiocchi said.
Integrated Marketing Success Stories
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