$200 Million Campaign Tries to Convey 'One Degree of Separation'

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NEW YORK ( -- Microsoft on Monday kicks off the second phase of its $200 million global campaign for its enterprise software and Internet services, .NET.

The campaign, dubbed Agility, began last year after Microsoft introduced .NET, or software and services delivered via the Web nearly two years ago. By targeting business decision makers and information technology professionals, Microsoft is trying to show how its suite of services and software connects companies to consumers. That connection is defined by Miscrosoft as having only "one degree of separation."

An estimated $90 million in media will be spent on Agility in the U.S., with the rest earmarked for efforts around the world.

Desire and delivery
The campaign includes TV, print and Internet ad and marketing, as well as event marketing. The ads, by Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson Worldwide, San Francisco, are crisp and highly stylized. One TV spot takes place in a luxury car showroom. A couple is trying to decide on the color of their car. A split screen shows "the desire" on the left, "the delivery" on the right. A salesman using a slick Tablet PC taps directly into his inventory via Microsoft software as the couple keeps changing its mind.

The ads voice-over says: "When software lets you quickly give customers what they want that's one degree of separation. That's business with .NET from Microsoft."

The tagline is Microsoft's way of explaining how its software can help businesses respond to quickly changing opportunities.

"We wanted to show how you can get from point A to point B seamlessly, that the prime benefit of .NET [software and services] is connecting to your company to partners, customers and employees," said Mike Delman, general manager, advertising and events at Microsoft.

Sporting events targeted
The TV spots break on cable networks and Fox Sports on the Feb. 18, with the bulk appearing Feb. 20 on prime-time network programs like ABC's 20/20. College basketball games and other high-profile sports events are also targeted.

The campaign will run heavily in business publications such as Dow Jones' The Wall Street Journal, McGraw-Hill's Business Week and The Economist along with IT trades. An integrated Web campaign includes online ad buys with pop-ups and streaming media, and a massive enterprise hub on

The .NET framework will form the basis for all of Microsoft's future software products. VisualStudio.NET is already shipping to software developers. Windows 2000 Server and Sequel Server, a database server product, are also part of the .NET suite. Companies can build customized software applications on top of the Microsoft products.

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