Cloud Computing Hits Mainstream Via TV Ads From Amazon and IBM

By Phil Rainsberger

The cloud is no longer just for computer scientists and hard-core developers as two of the world's top providers of cloud computing for businesses—Amazon and IBM—have begun airing full-length television ads for their cloud services.

And as a demonstration of just how widely the cloud has penetrated both the business world and the general awareness of huge portions of the general public's consciousness, the two ad campaigns both dwell very specifically on the cloud while coming at it from wildly different perspectives.

So the fact that there's lots of room to tell the cloud story to millions of non-technical folks across the country proves that cloud computing is no longer just a one-dimensional, deep-tech tale of faceless data centers, inscrutable code and IT jargon.

Instead, Amazon and IBM—both of which in the past 12 months have generated about $16 billion in cloud revenue—have taken to the TV airwaves (hey: in our digital world, are "TV airwaves" still a real thing??) to celebrate not so much the cloud itself but the people who are using the cloud to transform just about every facet of our lives.

For Amazon, the cloud story is about "the new builders" of technology and business—the smart, driven and high-achieving tech wizards creating the foundations of our digital economy. 

For IBM, the hook is how not only the cloud but also other new technologies such as Blockchain and advanced analytics are turning old ways of doing things upside down and creating vast new capabilities—and opportunities—for businesses as well as individuals.

The up-tempo IBM ad tells a series of short and high-intensity stories about how the cloud and related technologies are changing the way our world operates. IBM's clear intention is to dazzle viewers with an uplifting story about how the IBM Cloud is all about business and innovation and the power of data, AI and blockchain. Here are a few excerpts from the IBM voiceover: 

• "This is a diamond trapped on a blockchain protected against fraud, theft and trafficking."

• "This is a financial transaction secure from hacks and threats others can't see." 

• "This is a patient's medical history made secure while still available to their doctor, at their fingertips." 

• "This is an asteroid live-streamed to millions of viewers from 220 miles above Earth." 

• "This is AI trained by experts in 20 industries—your industry."

• "This is not the cloud you know: This is the IBM Cloud: built for your business, designed for your data, secure to the core." 

• "The IBM Cloud is the cloud for enterprise. Yours."

Amazon's ads aim to convey a more "roll up your sleeves and get to work" message without the visionary appeal of the IBM campaign—here are some examples from the voiceover on the Amazon Web Services "Build On" campaign:

• "Meet the new builder, in the new age of rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty."

• "They're in labs, lofts, and war-rooms, launching scrappy startups and reinventing big business."

• "They see what doesn't exist, and make it exist."

• "They know that the freedom to fail is the freedom to build."

• "These are the New Builders—and we're the cloud that's obsessed with turning their dreams into realities."

• " Because we believe everything gets better when you let nothing stand in the builders' way."

• "Amazon Web Services: Build On!"

For all of their differences, what's remarkable about the two campaigns is that here in early 2018—barely a couple of years after businesses really began to first get serious about the cloud—and we're seeing two of the cloud leaders use the ultimate mass-market medium of television to convey the excitement, the potential and the seemingly limitless impact of the cloud on our world today.

The message is clear: the cloud has arrived in businesses across the world. 

Don't get left behind.