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Novell scores with latest ad campaign

Feb 04, 20033 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMarketing

* Novell's newest marketing effort gets high marks

Well, they did it. Novell’s marketing folks launched their campaign on TV, in print, on billboards and in Web banners. Head over to and click on your area of the world to see what’s happening in your media. That’s right, it’s not just an English-language campaign. You can view Novell’s marketing prowess in Swedish, French, German, Dutch and Spanish. More languages are to follow.

The theme, itself, is very good in my opinion. Called “We speak your language,” it pokes fun at some technical terms (Ram, cursor, browser, etc.,) that ich even casual users should be familiar with by giving definitions that focus on business needs. For example, “cursor” is defined as “CIO who discovers that his expensive new integration system needs yet another integration system.”

There’s also a secondary theme, that Novell uniquely understands multiple platform integration. That’s the message Novell has had for years, but until now was not able to vocalize in a way that caught the attention of both the executive suite as well as the technical staff. This new campaign looks to be able to do that.

In my “Wired Windows” column in last week’s Network World (“You can fool some of the people,” I looked at the latest ads from Microsoft and IBM. I did not praise them, but this latest round from Novell is far superior.

The initial schedule for ads (cable news networks, Wall Street Journal and similar outlets) should get the name and message in front of the people who sign the checks. There are only two questions, really: how long will the campaign last; and how well will it be followed up?

A few years ago I spoke highly of the “fish bowl” series of ads, but there was never any follow up so the good impressions were wasted. Novell doesn’t have the name recognition that IBM, Microsoft, and even Sun, possess. This campaign can establish a good identity but there needs to be more to keep the name visible.

All in all, it’s a very good effort and our hats off to Debra Bergevine, Novell’s chief marketing officer. She’s been very quiet over the past months since coming on board, but she sure has made a splash with her first major effort.

There’s a minor issue in marketing that’s raising some hackles, though, but we’ll leave that for next issue. For now, bask in the warm glow you feel when Novell does marketing correctly.