Launch spots will highlight scenes in which people use their phones
in inappropriate places: in the shower, at the urinal, at an
operating table, before sex. One of the ads, "Really," revolves
around the title's question when people come across offenders
sucked into their phones. A masseuse is checking her phone?
"Really?" responds the half-naked lady on the massage table.
"There's an insight into what's happening in our culture with
phones," said Gayle Troberman, Microsoft's chief creative officer
leading the Windows Phone campaign, which is slated to go live
tonight in the U.K. "[Phones] are starting to dominate our
behavior. We're challenging consumers to think about the role
phones play in our lives. Maybe they can be designed better to [let
us] get back to life sometimes."
To make the claim, Microsoft had to design a phone that looked
substantially different from its competitors. With the latest
version of Windows Mobile, dubbed "Windows Phone" this time around,
rather than a grid of applications -- a signature of the iPhone and
Android phones -- Windows Phone has an entirely different look and
"We have to differentiate," said Todd Peters, Microsoft
corporate VP-mobile communications marketing group. "Everything is
looking the same now; if we come in like that, we'll be
Rather, Windows Phone is hinging its future on convincing
consumers that there's a better way, with a continuously updating
stream of text messages, social network updates and preferred
content called "live tiles." While some might consider diverging
from the familiar grid of app icons risky, Microsoft and Crispin
are making that difference the core of their marketing
"[Consumers] have this tsunami of available content and
experiences; we looked at the design of being app-centric, and it
was in and out of apps all day," Mr. Peters said. "It's getting
distracting. There's a failure to focus. We see people always face
down, looking at apps."
Windows Phone will have to compete with Apple's highly
recognizable iPhone and iPad ads, as well as Verizon's Droid.
as Nokia, are also trying to make headway in the U.S. and have
plans to flood the market with smartphone ads this quarter.
Microsoft is hoping this time around it can break with a
decade-long tradition of futility in the mobile phone space.
Microsoft is currently the No. 4 smartphone platform with 10%
share, behind BlackBerry-parent Research in Motion, Apple and
Google, according to ComScore August data. Microsoft has
consistently lost percentage points over the last several months,
and it is hoped Windows Phone will reverse that decline.
In the wake of reports that Verizon will get iPhone, ending AT&T's
exclusive hold on the device, the carrier will also help market
"We talked to all the mobile operators early on; with AT&T,
we began to click as marketing partners," said Mr. Peters, adding
we can expect co-marketing from AT&T and Microsoft in the
coming weeks. Mr. Peter said the partnership will also extend into
retail displays and employee training in AT&T's 2,200