Vista's 36-hour launch eyes average consumer

NEW YORK: Using great fanfare, last week's 36-hour product launch of Microsoft Vista aimed to take the company's newest operating system to average consumers.

NEW YORK: Using great fanfare, last week's 36-hour product launch of Microsoft Vista aimed to take the company's newest operating system to average consumers.

To kick things off for the January 30 launch, 16 artists and aerialists from a troupe called Bongarbiz created a "human billboard" on January 29 seven stories above the city, unveiling the Microsoft and Microsoft Vista logos for awed onlookers at street level.

Other launch activities included a luncheon with Steve Ballmer attended by analysts and members of the press, a thank you celebration hosted by Microsoft for all of those who helped with the creation of the Vista operating system, and a retail event at a Manhattan Best Buy, also attended by Ballmer.

"Overall, we were looking to do a few things," said Debbie Anderson, communications director at Microsoft Windows, about the launch strategy. "A key element was to humanize [the product]."

While many events had a New York City focus, 30 stores across the US participated in grassroots events January 29 that included entertainment and door prizes.

"These were exciting opportunities to meet with consumers where they are," said Anderson.

Assisting in Microsoft's outreach was Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, the AOR on the Windows and Windows Vista account, which has been involved in the launch strategy for the past five years; and Edelman, which, last October, was hired for the one-day consumer launch.

Aside from the "human billboard" event on launch day, WE handled outreach to the business media leading up to the launch. Edelman handled other media relations strategies for the launch day activities in New York, including appearances by Bill Gates on Today and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

WE worked with its subsidiary Maloney & Fox on the event.

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