IBM, a company that has been in the technology business since 1911, has shifted its business model to focus on business technology and IT services.
In the 1980s, IBM focused on selling PCs and business computers to various industrial markets. Throughout that decade, IBM's advertising featured Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp character, which was created by ad agency Lord, Geller, Federico, Einstein. The commercials playfully used the character to evoke the ease of using a personal computer.
In 1992, IBM launched the ThinkPad, an early “mobile” computer – known today as a laptop. Sold to both the business and consumer market, IBM advertised the ThinkPad widely. But after facing competition from other computer makers, IBM sold its entire desktop and notebook computer division to Chinese manufacturer Lenovo in 2004.
In 1995, IBM launched an Internet search tool and began digitizing music for EMI Music. And in 1997, it was one of the early advertisers on Yahoo, inking a deal to advertise across the search portal's online properties. In 1998, IBM released a tool for serving rich media Internet ads online.
In the late 1990s, IBM created the IBM Centers for Solutions and Innovation, focused on building solutions for the Web. This quickly morphed into a business offering services across multiple channels. Because the original name didn't quite define this extended offering, in 2008 the agency rebranded itself IBM Interactive.
On the agency side, IBM has had a long affair with Ogilvy. That firm worked on a campaign in 2000, creating ads that targeted competitor Sun Microsystems. It also has worked with Wunderman on some other campaigns.
IBM also recently released an e-commerce platform, which retailers can use to enable their e-commerce stores for mobile and social commerce. It also offers Web security, semiconductors and point of sale services.