Microsoft gets personal with ME

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Microsoft Corp. is giving its core Windows brand the personal touch for the next generation of its consumer operating system software.

The software giant will debut a new logo for its Windows Millennium Edition, set for release at retail Sept. 14.

The brand identity for the product, dubbed Windows Me, was created by Landor Associates, Seattle. The new logo, which will appear on product packaging and collateral materials, represents a departure from the Windows identity created for Microsoft's business brands.

The look for the consumer product highlights the software's personal entertainment capabilities, such as digital video editing and photography. The Microsoft Windows logo includes a green "Me" in script, using an abbreviation of Millennium Edition that also conveys personalization.

"The core identity of the product is the Windows frames, all slightly askew. Unlike the business products, they look a little like confetti," said Stephen Birkhold, client director at Landor on the Microsoft business. "It [conveys] a very personal version of Windows . . . it's kind of breaking out of the box, a little more freedom of expression," he added.

"This is the first time that in the Windows realm [Microsoft has] done something which is strategically oriented toward the fun and entertainment aspect of the product," Mr. Birkhold said.

Landor also helped design the look of a series of screens that will help consumers create settings to customize their software.

A LIGHTER FEEL

Over the past few months, Microsoft has tried to infuse its corporate image and business and professional advertising with a lighter feel. McCann-Erickson/

A&L, San Francisco and New York, handles.

An ad campaign is set to break in a couple of weeks in print, TV and online. Event marketing at retail also is expected along with promotions and other tie-ins; a nationwide mall tour demonstrating the product is under way.

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