Why the IBM Watson Jeopardy Challenge Is the Greatest B2B Campaign Ever

Social Media B2B, 2/23/11

Nearly 10 million Americans tuned in to the venerable Jeopardy quiz show on February 14, forsaking their Valentine Day activities for a half-hour to watch a computer battle to a standoff with the two greatest Jeopardy champions of all time. Nearly as many tuned in the ensuing nights to see the IBM machine, called Watson, soundly thrash Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter at the game they have dominated for the last decade.

Back at IBM, marketers were all smiles. What had started as an evolution on the 1997 contest between a computer named Deep Blue and world champion Garry Kasparov had become a cultural phenomenon, one that will be paying dividends for IBM for years to come. Thanks to a group of anonymous computer scientists, and a marketing organization that understood the power of their grassroots appeal, IBM had just pulled off the greatest B2B marketing coup of all time.

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