Juniper Kills the Cartoons!

SAN MATEO, Calif. -- The regime change at Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) has claimed a victim. Juniper has retired its cartoons.

The shocking news was delivered bluntly, without warning, by new chief marketing officer Lauren Flaherty at Juniper's analyst conference today.

The audience responded with a smattering of spontaneous applause, followed by one "boo" that didn't seem very heartfelt.

Flaherty, who joined Juniper four weeks ago, introduced a new campaign, at least for Juniper's enterprise sales efforts. It will use the phrase "Demand more" and will target enterprise customers by trying to "reinforce the notion that you've got choice," she said.

But why? Why???

"Devices tire over time, so you have to keep them fresh, and companies mature," Flaherty said. "We need a marketing proposition that can grow with us." [Ed. note: This sounds like a different company than the one that used to sue anonymous message board users.]

The Far Side-inspired cartoons started in 2003 while Christine Heckart was vice president of marketing. At first, they were part of an ad campaign throwing pot shots at Cisco. (See FTTH Comms Picks ADC Gear.) Soon after, the cartoons became the face of Juniper, appearing on the Website and even on executive presentations. Industry reaction wasn't universally favorable. [Ed. note: Uh, yeah. We know how that feels.]

Heckart left Juniper in 2005 to join Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT). (See VP Jumps From Juniper.)

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) was too chicken to comment. Larry, Light Reading's mascot monkey, didn't seem to side with his cartoon brethren in their moment of crisis. "They were too subtle," he said, while spinning around in his Aeron chair and waving a pistol. "You can't keep anyone's attention by doodling about routers. Wheee-he-heeee! (Bang!)"

Juniper appears to have already removed the cartoons from its Web site. If you've somehow never encountered them, you can find samples around the Web, with helpful tips on averting disaster, booking UFO travel, or guarding a cave? Or something?

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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stuartb 12/5/2012 | 4:10:57 PM
re: Juniper Kills the Cartoons! BTW Phil, love the Colbert reference. Maybe you'll make his next "who's honoring me now" segment.
stuartb 12/5/2012 | 4:10:57 PM
re: Juniper Kills the Cartoons! First... thank God, I hated those ads.

Second, I think it's a tunnel that the goofy superhero is guarding (as in a VPN), and not some sort of cave. I suppose nobody knows if it's a real tunnel or one that only Road Runner can fly through.
reboot0 12/5/2012 | 4:10:57 PM
re: Juniper Kills the Cartoons! Even around the offices the cartoons have been killed off completely. Our funky little cartoon cube tags were suddenly and completely replaced by a boring compass and telescope theme.

I think Juniper is now searching for His Dark Materials:

bollocks187 12/5/2012 | 4:10:56 PM
re: Juniper Kills the Cartoons! Thank god for the removal of the cartoons !

Now really can someone explain what is Junipers unique value proposition ?
ruready 12/5/2012 | 4:10:56 PM
re: Juniper Kills the Cartoons!
Get to the value proposition. That's what matters anyway, not some cutsie message that the CTO or CIO could not care about.
Honestly 12/5/2012 | 4:10:56 PM
re: Juniper Kills the Cartoons! Christine was a great marketer for Juniper. She was in CSCO's face for three years and helped secure and defend the carrier core for them.

Juniper corp PR has never been as good as it was them.

Cartoons were not as edgy as Christine was with Cisco, they may have needed a little more Dilbert, but they worked ok. This marked the first time that Scott kreins let anyone spend any real marketing money at Juniper and they grew market 32% over an 18 month period back then, mostly at Cisco's expense.

Kreins did not give Heckart and other quality senior level folks what they needed to continue to grow and they all left. Dolce, etc.

Hopefully the current CEO will not cut his good people off, Junper builds great technology and CSCO is losing its touch, falling on hard times.
NorthernRights 12/5/2012 | 4:10:55 PM
re: Juniper Kills the Cartoons! Lauren has only been at Juniper for four weeks not four months as was reported.
Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:10:55 PM
re: Juniper Kills the Cartoons! Ohhhh - that makes more sense (to the extent that the image makes sense at all). Thanks stuartb.

When I first saw the cartoon, my mind assumed it was the surface of a pinball machine, and I spent several seconds trying to make that idea work. (Hint: it doesn't.)
digits 12/5/2012 | 4:10:55 PM
re: Juniper Kills the Cartoons! NorthernRights
Well spotted. This has been amended.

With the cartoons nixed so quickly, wonder what will happen in the next four weeks!?

heretoday 12/5/2012 | 4:10:54 PM
re: Juniper Kills the Cartoons! Lauren will put her mark on JNPR quickly.....and that's not necessarily bad.... but if she even mentions the SALES INHIBITING application BIZSPHERE, just walk away. To current and former Nortelers... can I get an Amen!

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