Yesterday I got this week’s issue of Information Week. IBM had taken out four full pages ads in the magazine. That’s a large portion as this is a thin weekly magazine. The theme of these ads was “Conversations for a Smarter Planet”. Here is the kicker. I had no idea what they were talking about.

Two of the four ad pages were giant images. The other two pages had the following headlines: (1) A mandate for change is a mandate for smart, and (2) How can we make our smart systems smarter? These pages then had a lot of text on them. The closing line was “Join us and see what others are thinking at”.

I figured these ads were just teasers, and that the meat was at the web site. I decided to bite. There seemed to be five bullets at the bottom of the page. Somehow I already got to the second bullet which was about intelligence. The byline was “intelligence to build solutions for business.”

By clicking some buttons I proceeded to the next bullet. The text talked about smarter governance. There were also links to topics like SOA and RFID among others. I saw something about being green and recycling as well.

At this point I had viewed some ads in the magazine, and was trying to navigate the web site. But I still had little clue as to what IBM was selling. There were two further bullets at the bottom of the page which were inaccessible. They were collaboration and infrastructure. No matter how many links I clicked, I could not get these buttons enabled.

Yeah I know IBM is making some good money these days. However I don’t think their latest advertising efforts are working. At least they make not sense to me.