Technology - Microsoft challenges IT's geek image

Campaign: DesignIT Client: Microsoft PR team: Inferno Timescale: January-June 2008 Budget: £50,000

 

A senior executive at Microsoft challenged Inferno to create a campaign to touch the hearts and minds of IT professionals in an unexpected and thought-provoking way. Inferno was asked to challenge the perception of IT workers as geeks and generate positive coverage in the media.

Objectives

- To have a positive effect on Microsoft's perception

- To reverse the geeky stereotype of IT workers.

Strategy and plan

Inferno ran a competition inviting IT professionals to submit a design that solved a need or addressed a problem faced by a UK charity. A judging panel chose the top ten entries, which were all converted into works of art by London artists, and a final five were put to a public vote. The winner was announced at a gallery event where all the art was put on display, and a debate, which was covered by bloggers, asked if the event changed perceptions of Microsoft.

Measurement and evaluation

Feedback from the event suggested perceptions of Microsoft had been changed from viewing it as a 'corporate giant' to considering its creativity.

Results

In total 81 pieces of media coverage were generated with an advertising value equivalent of more than £250,000. The blogs from the debate were viewed by more than 1.2 million people.

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