LAST CALL: Big Blue gets caught red-handed spraying black paint

Is IBM looking to shed its stodgy, old-school image? From the looks

of a recent guerrilla marketing campaign gone awry, Big Blue has lost

not only its conservative corporate bent, but its collective sanity as


In a bid to beef up the company's hip factor, IBM ad agency Ogilvy &

Mather devised a 'Peace, Love and Linux' campaign to be executed via

sidewalk art in a number of cities including San Francisco and Chicago.

O&M outsourced the street tagging to Ch'rewd Marketing & Promotions, a

hip Chicago-based agency specializing in urban and alternative


According to IBM officials, however, the faux graffiti was supposed to

be done in chalk, but somehow ended up in black spray paint - an

unfortunate mix-up for Ch'rewd employee Ali Morrissey, 20, who was

arrested for defacing public property on a Chi-town thoroughfare. (A

similar graffiti campaign was executed in San Francisco, though this

time the paint was 'washable,' according to IBM. And more importantly,

nobody complained there.)

IBM spokesperson Trink Guarino refused to comment on the incident except

to say that the campaign had been discontinued and that she 'didn't

know' whether Ch'rewd was the agency responsible for the campaign's

execution in both cities.

Not surprisingly, there's no word on who made the leap of thinking that

getting a hip-hop shop specializing in rap record promotions to work

with Big Blue was a good idea. Nobody from Ch'rewd or O&M returned

calls, and it's still unclear where the communication breakdown

occurred. One thing is fairly certain, however. Some poor agency AE is

pounding the pavement as you read this.

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