By Published on .

Through an overdose of basic marketing techniques, Brad Chase turned last August's introduction of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 95 into a global event.

Microsoft backed Windows 95 with a TV ad blitz from Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., rocking with the Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up."

With encouragement from Mr. Chase, general manager of personal operating systems, Microsoft marketers around the world hyped the product with outlandish publicity stunts-bathing the Empire State Building in the Windows 95 logo's colors, painting the logo on fields in the U.K. for airline passengers to see and floating a four-story high Windows 95 box in Sydney's harbor.

Mr. Chase's boldest marketing move may have been a massive "preview" program to give pre-production versions to 1 million influential customers, journalists and analysts. The test version had bugs, meaning Mr. Chase was showing his most influential users a product with inherent defects. But Mr. Chase, 35, bet correctly: Raves about the strengths drowned out complaints.

The world was primed when Windows 95 appeared, with media covering the debut at 12:01 a.m. Aug. 24 in stores around the globe.

"This is a historical moment," Mr. Chase said minutes before a store opened at midnight near Microsoft's headquarters. "I don't want to be too melodramatic, because it is only software. But it is pretty amazing."

Microsoft has sold more than 25 million copies, meaning Windows 95 has gained more customers in less than a year than Apple Computer's Macintosh has attracted in 12 years.

"I think a lot of people remember Windows 95 as the product that really ushered software into consumer products space," says Mr. Chase, now general manager of marketing for the Internet Platform and Tools division.

Most Popular
In this article: