Microsoft kicked off the U.S. launch of smartphones running its
improved second-generation mobile software with a giant Windows
Phone in Herald Square in Manhattan today, 150-times the size of a
normal phone. From Macy's flagship store, the resident iPad
billboard on the south end of the public square was completely
obscured by the giant six-story phone.
Windows Phone chief Andy Lees, at a press event in New York,
characterized marketing for the second-generation suite of devices
as "rolling thunder:" devices ranging in price from $49 to $199
will come to market, country by country, over the next several
months. Unlike last year's one-day launch, the wave began in Japan
late this summer, Nokia Windows Phones launched in Europe and parts
of Asia and manufacturers HTC and Samsung are shipping Windows
Phones to the U.S. this holiday season. Nokia devices are coming to the U.S. next year.
Last year's "Phone to Save Us from Our Phones" TV spots from hot
shop CPB focused on establishing the "Windows Phone" brand in the
U.S., since Microsoft was unveiling its revamped, untested, mobile
software with shilling specific devices a secondary concern. This
year, with time to work out kinks in the second-generation software
release, Microsoft spokesman Bill Cox said, it's all about pushing
So the manufacturers, who've all abided by Microsoft's basic
guidelines, such as having all the same buttons on each device, are
spearheading marketing. HTC launched its global Windows Phone
campaign, "In The Right Hands" last week in the U.S. and will
include TV spots and print ads in 10 general-market magazines such
as People, Newsweek and Esquire.
Nokia's "The Amazing Everyday" campaign is already underway in
Europe, Middle East and Asia. Mr. Lees called the European
saturation push Nokia's "largest single campaign ever."
Microsoft, which is kicking in funds toward manufacturer ad
budgets, is also pushing common selling points across
manufacturers, such as the software's "people hub" and photo
Samsung will launch the largest Windows Phone campaign in the
U.S. later this month for its Focus Flash device on AT&T, which
retails for under $50 and targets the 57% of Americans who still
owned feature phones last quarter, by Nielsen's count. With big
buys such as the YouTube homepage, the campaign is aiming to grab
900 million views online.