Although Nortel launched their “Cisco Energy Tax” ad campaign earlier this year, the company has recently gone full-throttle with a new television commercial. The new Nortel “Piles” commercial shows IT pros and business people standing near or holding large stacks of cash and telling us how much the power used by their network equipment (presumably from Cisco) is costing them.

As IT commercials go, this one caught my eye–not least of all because I’ve seen it almost every morning for the past two weeks on several cable news channels. Yet Nortel seemed to be making a pretty bold claim, and I thought a little more digging was in order. Luckily for me, Jason Hiner had already talked with April Dunford, Nortel’s “Green” guru in the marketing department, about the company’s claims. In a Tech Sanity Check blog post, Jason describes how Nortel discovered their equipment’s miserly power consumption rates and the research they use to backup their commercial’s claim:

Simultaneously, in recent years when Nortel decided to make a strategic push into LAN networking, the executives told the staff to go out and find something that they do better than Cisco. One of the sales engineers had a customer who remarked that Nortel’s gear sucks a lot less power than Cisco equipment. The sales engineer took that information back to the company, which started testing this in its labs and quickly verified it to be true. Next, they commissioned Tolly Group to do a lab study and Tolly came up with similar results.

While I think the commercial does a good job of conveying Nortel’s “use our equipment and cut your power bill” message, I’m not sure energy savings alone will convince current Cisco users to switch. To be fair, Nortel also touts its equipment as delivering a “network with superior performance, resilience and recovery time than Cisco.” But, it’s the “cut your power bill” message that’s being blasted across the TV.

If you are/were in the market for new networking equipment, how much impact would Nortel’s ad have? Leave a comment in this post’s discussion and tell us what features top your list of must-haves for networking equipment–performance, security, reliability, power consumption?