Microsoft Corp. is preparing a 30-minute TV show promoting Windows 95 that will feature ads from Coca-Cola Co., Eastman Kodak Co., Compaq Computer Corp. and CompUSA.
Microsoft is buying time in the top 70 markets; the show will run in the hour before prime time either Aug. 27 or 28. It will also run on a cable network.
This is just part of the estimated $200 million-plus Microsoft will spend to promote its new PC operating system. Microsoft will spend $3 million to $5 million on the TV show, including a lofty $1 million in tune-in ads in newspapers and TV Guide via Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
Sponsors' commercials will generate more than $1 million. It's logical for Compaq and CompUSA, the big PC retailer, to tie in, but Jon Lazarus, Microsoft VP-strategic relations, said Coca-Cola and Kodak are on board because the launch of Windows 95 is a major, attention-getting event.
The TV show will feature diverse Windows 95 users talking about what they do with PCs. It will also feature a cameo appearance by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. Mr. Lazarus took pains to distance the show from infomercials, insisting instead that it will be an "entertainment program" for the masses.
Mark Gleason and Joe Mandese contributed to this story.