CDW Reprises “Fred” Campaign

Computer and I.T. solutions reseller CDW is again tapping “Fred” to highlight the toil and tribulations of I.T. workers.

Continuing the theme begun in the Vernon Hills, Ill.-based company’s “Empathy” campaign of last year, the newest slate of CDW’s ads show everyday life through the eyes of Fred, the I.T. Guy. And it’s not pretty: he’s surrounded by well-meaning but computer-illiterate co-workers seemingly intent on destroying the company’s technical infrastructure and on generally making life as difficult as possible for him.

“Can’t talk now, Fred … got a network to crash,” says a co-worker in one new spot, which will begin airing this week.

“Fred, as soon as you order that server, the sooner I can change my mind about it,” adds an executive in the same execution.

“Dealing with technology is hard,” intones a voiceover. “That’s why CDW makes buying it as simple as possible, with a personal account manager who understands what you need, and gets back to you quickly.”

“Through our depiction of Fred’s world, we show how CDW understands what people responsible for workplace technology face every day,” said Joe Kremer, vice president of marketing at CDW. “Our understanding and our passion for customer service are what enable us to provide our customers with a hassle- free buying experience.”

While keeping the same thematic elements as previous CDW “Empathy” campaign, the new effort, designed by agency of record DWP//Bates Technology, seeks to expand CDW’s brand as not just a provider of computer hardware and software solutions to businesses, but to all sorts of enterprises — especially those in the public sector.

Indeed, the 20-year-old company in recent years has been focusing on winning contracts in the educational and the federal and local government sector. Last year, the firm’s government subsidiary received a contract from the State of New Hampshire, and posted a 63 percent annual increase in sales, to $680.9 million.

While corporate sales remain a major portion of CDW’s revenues, the company’s old tagline — “Computer Solutions Built for Business” — no longer appears in the newest spots. In its place, the new ads use “The Right Technology. Right Away.”

The campaign’s TV spots are slated to air on cable networks including CNN, Comedy Channel and Discovery Channel. Print executions will appear in Forbes, PC World and other magazines popular among technology decision-makers. Later this month, radio and online ads will break in select local markets.

CDW also launched a section on its Web site titled “Fred’s Corner,” where I.T. workers are invited to share their horror stories. Following its “Empathy” campaign, the company said it began receiving hundreds of similar tales from customers, which it ultimately published in book form earlier this year.

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