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Dell turns to Sun in battle against, er, Sun

Tech Force bested by Solaris

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There's no shortage of irony when a company as savvy as Dell spends thousands of dollars on a fancy marketing campaign only to have a partner undermine the entire message of the promotion by using a rival's gear in the ad.

Such is the case with the Dell Tech Force web promotion that has been in action for some time. Dell hired Maverick Productions to create a pair of cartoons that mock "the leviathans of Big Iron." The playful animations are knock offs of the "Team America" film and are aimed right at Unix server sellers Sun Microsystems, IBM and HP.

While Maverick Productions did its job and produced a cartoon with high production value, it failed to pay attention to a fine detail when it recruited SolutionPro as a hosting provider. Yep, you guessed it. The Dell Tech Force fight against Big Iron runs on Solaris servers from Sun. Big ads require serious horsepower; it would seem. (Thanks, A.)

Photo of Netcraft data showing site runs on Solaris

Netcraft shows more of the gory details.

One would think that over time these trivial web server gaffes would appear less frequently. However, contractors not used to the fierce, religious aspects of OS and processor wars often miss out on the underlying significance of picking the right hosting provider for the right job.

But Maverick Productions will have a hard time explaining its ignorance. The company has done extensive work for Microsoft and Dell in the past.

Sadly, the design company isn't what you would describe as marketing savvy. In the "Showcase" portion of its web site, Maverick brags about videos made for a Windows XP launch.

"It's not what great technology looks like, it's what that technology actually means to people," we're told. "Images of freedom, happiness, success danced across the video walls to wide acclaim.

"One thrilled Microsoft exec even asked how we could load the video on every computer ever sold with Windows. Guess they liked it."

Ah yes, nothing says "freedom" like a monopoly asking to put a video on every computer.

Or take its plug for a past Dell campaign.

"Dell's got a great story to tell. The CIO of Nestle is happy to share his positive Dell experiences with the world."

Happy? Come on, how happy?

"But Dell's never produced a video case study before - and just to make it interesting, Nestle backs out of the shoot the day before we're set to leave for Europe."

Oh, that happy.

Well, let's start the clock ticking to see how long it takes to get those cartoons on a Linux box. ®

Bootnote

Hardware aficionados will be amused to see the likes of Oracle and EMC included in the rally against Big Iron. And the real observant types out there will notice that EMC was actually excised from the second Tech Force commercial. Wonder why.

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