The last time IBM, the technology and consulting US multinational, crossed over to the mainstream was 14 years ago in 1997, when IBM pitted its Deep Blue Supercomputer against chess whiz Garry Kasparov. The highly publicised match showed mighty Russian grandmaster Kasparov being defeated by IBM's creation.
Fast forward to 2011 and it seems man versus machine still generates good hype. IBM spent January showing off new supercomputer Watson. IBM's new creation appears in a series of TV ads and a press event previewing an upcoming TV match between Watson and contestants from the popular US TV quiz show Jeopardy.
The widely anticipated 3 day TV showdown will be aired on February 14 and will show Watson compete against legendary Jeopardy quiz contestant winners Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.
IBM’s high profile marketing investment comes at a time when the company is looking to boost its business-analytics revenue from its present $9 billion to $16 billion by 2015. Competitors such as Oracle and SAP are deeply entrenched in this market, so IBM have brought out the big publicity guns again with a computer to outsmart humans.
So far, IBM’s high-profile campaign of artificial intelligence has paid off with BrandIndex Buzz scores for IBM rising from 10.7 on December 20 2010 to 19.0 by the beginning of February 2011.