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Special Project

Special Project NEW!
From the 9th Annual Shorty Awards

Guiding Eyes

Entered in Medium-Length Video

About this entry

In a rapidly commoditizing cloud market, IBM touts its cloud offering as being able to transform businesses and thus, the lives of consumers. However, long-standing perceptions around IBM led many consumers to view IBM only as a partner for massive enterprises.In addition, as with many tech companies, IBM often advertises its offering in a highly technical and/or business-focused fashion, making the capabilities of the cloud and its relevance to everyday life abstract and intangible for a general audience. So our marketing challenge was to find a way to bring the capabilities and relevance of the cloud to life in a fresh and exciting way that would change illustrate the potential of big data in an emotionally engaging way.

Barbarian was tasked with telling the story of how small organizations can use IBM Cloud to make sense of Big Data in order to create results that enable better lives. It was imperative that we tell this story in an emotionally engaging way that depicted how IBM Cloud impacts lives in a real and emotional way.

Why does this entry deserve to win?

Big data and technology can seem impenetrable and difficult to understand, but the partnership that IBM has with its clients has a huge business impact and important real world results. Gathering and understanding structured and unstructured data allows clients to find connections that they previously would have overlooked or been lost. Barbarian was tasked with creating an emotionally compelling story that depicts how IBM Cloud can benefit organizations of all sizes.

IBM Cloud partnered with Guiding Eyes for the Blind, an organization that trains dogs from puppies until they are able to be helpful aides to the blind. Through its Canine Development Center, Guiding Eyes leads research, breeding technology, and behavior development in order to breed the best and most effective dogs. In fact, only about half of the dogs born at Guiding Eyes will graduate from the program. To be more effective, Guiding Eyes needed to better understand their own subject. The company has enormous amounts of structure data in the form of medical records and genetic mapping. In addition, it also has untold amounts of unstructured data from surveys and questionnaires from host families and trainers that work with the dogs.

Training guide dogs is not cheap—it costs about $50,000 per dog and Guiding Eyes wants to ensure that they breed dogs that are likely to actually graduate and pair with an owner. IBM Cloud allows them to gather and analyze this structured and unstructured data in oder to improve the odds of breeding success.

Creatively, Barbarian told the story of the Guiding Eyes partnership not through the lens of a computer program or massive amounts of abstract data, but through the point of view of the seeing eye dog itself. The film depicts Jackson, a golden retriever, as he is raised a trainer family, learns how to evade obstacles, and is physically assessed over the course of two years. Throughout the video, we can see how Jackson learns and grows and eventually partners with his new own, ready to be her eyes. The supplemental material on social media and in essay form on Medium deepened the story and gave a full accounting of how IBM Cloud helps connect guide dogs with those who need them the most.


The digital film is used as a B2B sales tool and was featured at the 2016 IBM World of Watson conference this year in Las Vegas in order to garner attention for the product. They were created specifically to speak to Line of Business Leaders and Chief Technology Officers who are looking to elevate business opportunities.

However, the cinematic value and compelling story has made this film and accompanying derivative content popular. On Youtube, we have gained over 50,000 views, its Instagram post is one of IBM's most popular, and was featured across media platforms like CNBC, PC Mag, and Advertising Age.


Video for Guiding Eyes

Entrant Company / Organization Name

The Barbarian Group, IBM