Microsoft changes suggest shift in its ad focus

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Microsoft Corp., announcing a long-awaited reorganization, will put more emphasis in product groups on "customer-focused" advertising, said President Steve Ballmer. This suggests some shift away from broad product-specific ads and more toward ads promoting solutions geared toward a specific type of customer, such as a consumer or "knowledge worker."

In a media conference call today announcing the reorganization of product groups, Mr. Ballmer said the changes won't affect the Redmond, Wash., company's ongoing corporate brand advertising. Anderson & Lembke, San Francisco, and Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., split the account. In the reorganization, Microsoft aligned products by customer type, creating five divisions including consumer Windows, business productivity and a consumer and commerce group.

The last group, co-run by veteran Microsoft marketing executive and VP Brad Chase, will pull together Microsoft's diverse Web products and services. Chairman Bill Gates said consumers are unlikely to see major short-term changes in the long-term reorganization except for "more alacrity" and "a little extra zing" in marketing and product development allowed by giving product groups more autonomy.

Copyright March 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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