Players emerge in Xbox mega-launch

LONDON: Following a six-month search, Microsoft has picked two agencies for the dollars 485 million European launch of its Xbox gaming console.

LONDON: Following a six-month search, Microsoft has picked two agencies for the dollars 485 million European launch of its Xbox gaming console.

LONDON: Following a six-month search, Microsoft has picked two agencies for the dollars 485 million European launch of its Xbox gaming console.

Manning, Selvage & Lee takes the role of lead agency, handling the European strategy for the launch. In the UK, The Red Consultancy will implement the campaign.

The search began following the appointment of Paul Fox as Xbox head of European communications (PRWeek UK, August 18, 2000).

Initially, 20 agencies attended meetings to decide the feasibility of handling either the European or UK work. Between five and six agencies actually pitched for each account, but Fox was not willing to disclose their identities.

David Bennett heads the account for MS&L, and director Mike Morgan will lead for Red. Bennett reports to Fox while Morgan reports to Nick Grange, UK PR manager.

Xbox is scheduled to launch in Europe at the beginning of 2002, after debuting in the US last November. The PR campaign will have to position Microsoft as capable of producing a sexy game console in the same league as rivals Sony and Nintendo. 'Xbox will head the brand, not Microsoft,' Fox said.

The teams are already gearing up to deal with potential misconceptions around the console, such as whether or not it is also a PC (it isn't).

It will compete with rival consoles such as PlayStation 2 by promoting its amazing graphics, described by a source as 'like Toy Story 2 graphics, but in your living room.'

Xbox will be priced at around the same amount Dreamcast and PlayStation were at their launch.



- See feature, page 20.





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