Maersk’s Disconnected: inventive B2B communication

In my communications-related career, I may have worked more on B2B brands than B2C. So anytime I see a B2B brand pitching higher and creatively, I get really excited! We pulled it off while at Ogilvy, for IBM, in a campaign called Score With Data where we used the 2015 World Cup Cricket tournament to sell IBM’s services! The basic idea was to treat the potential decision-makers of IBM’s services not as serious people looking all serious inside an office, but as normal people who enjoy the normal things we all enjoy – in this case, cricket, that even C-suite decision-makers and other level’s decision influencers enjoy.

So, when I saw Maersk, the shipping/logistics company, attempting something incredibly Hollywood’ish I got really interested.

They first launched a 71-second teaser trailer called ‘Disconnected’.

It was a typical Hollywood-style action and intrigue. It sure makes you think and leaves a lot of loose ends for you to wonder what it is all about… and why Maersk?

The actual film is hosted on their website (called ‘Connected’!) and runs for almost 5 minutes! (click on the image below)

But despite the run time (justified in the script and narrative detailing), it has some mind-bending visual effects (mildly reminiscent of Christopher Nolan’s Inception) and a superb crux that is so, so relevant to Maersk’s business: ‘the shortest distance is not always straight’. This is the heart of the campaign.

That line riffs on Archimedes’ famous quote, “The shortest distance between two points is a straight line”. But, as we all know, this depends entirely on the geometry of the object. On a flat surface, it sure could be a straight line.

In the case of shipping and logistics, things get far more complex because it is then not about geometry but the availability of resources at various points between the 2 points that could enable the movement to happen in the most optimal manner. And that is the core selling point of a logistics company – to get something from point a to point b in the most optimal manner subject to real-world conditions. This complex calculation is what enables an Amazon (for instance) to accurately tell us, even as we order, how long it would take for the product to reach us.

Maersk’s film is by the Danish agency &Co. The objective was to make an un-B2B’ish film so that it stands out in a place like LinkedIn and attracts people to go to the full film on the company website and then try to understand the range of services.

This is excellent work for an otherwise supposedly dry and boring industry/category!

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