Microsoft Embraces Digital as It Pushes Office 2007 Software

No TV Buys in Campaign, but Plenty of Web Films and Online Demos

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Just months after plunking down hundreds of millions of dollars into an old-school TV, print and web campaign for its Vista operating system, Microsoft is switching gears and going extreme digital for its latest marketing effort. The push for Microsoft Office 2007 launching this week includes no TV buys and pours more than 60% of its total media spending into the internet.
For Office 2007, Microsoft has created a series of two-minute web films, online demonstrations, test drives and downloadable interactive videos that are meant to keep customers engaged.
For Office 2007, Microsoft has created a series of two-minute web films, online demonstrations, test drives and downloadable interactive videos that are meant to keep customers engaged.

Online experience
"Every aspect [of the offline media] is oriented around driving people to an online experience," said John McNeil, exec VP-executive creative director, McCann WorldGroup, Microsoft's agency network. "If you look at the out-of-home and print as drive-to mechanisms, then the whole thing is really digital."

Indeed, the print and outdoor ads are sparse on copy, with the most prominent words being "Office2007.com."

"Traditionally you would do TV for a campaign this big," said Rob Bagot, exec VP-executive creative director, McCann WorldGroup. "And to say there is no TV is technically true. But to say there's no broadcast, that's not true at all."

The broadcast he is referring to includes a series of two-minute web films, online demonstrations, test drives and downloadable interactive videos. Each of the five films is built around a customer "pain point," or dissatisfaction.

The longer web-film format allows for better storytelling and more engagement with consumers, the creative directors said.

Going for engagement
"If we were to do a 30 [second spot], it would have to be much more about trying to be intriguing, rather than engaging -- and that's the best-case scenario," Mr. McNeil said.

Roger Kay, analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates, said the strategy makes sense for the product. "The web now is incredibly efficient at getting to the right people, especially with this audience, and the smart money is moving away from broadcast," he said.

The outdoor work will appear in Chicago, New York and San Francisco and includes "impact units" at key commuter locations such as JFK International Airport and the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Print will appear in magazines and national dailies including Time, Newsweek, Wired, National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. The different media elements of the new creative share the tagline "It's a new day. It's a new office."

The global campaign will run through mid-year 2008 in more than 12 countries.

Following Vista's rollout
It's been just over two months since the launch of the estimated $500 million mass-media marketing campaign for Microsoft Vista. Until this week, Office 2007 had been flying under the Vista marketing banner. Microsoft and McCann deliberately waited to launch the separate marketing effort for Office 2007 until the "noise" of the Vista rollout had abated somewhat.

Microsoft said last month that it sold 20 million copies of Vista in February, but declined to disclose Office 2007 sales. NPD Group, however, said its point-of-sales data show Office 2007 is doing extremely well with roughly twice the sales that Office 2003 had in its first month.

Office 2007 is a software suite that includes updated versions of familiar programs such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. The software comes in eight different versions to serve a variety of users with packages such as Enterprise, Professional, Small Business, and Home and Student.
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