To enhance its Windows-user experience, Microsoft has long offered online and downloadable capabilities, such as instant messenger and local search.
But to create excitement around its new-and-improved Windows Live options, Microsoft wanted to highlight features in a way that went beyond just talking about them. It wanted to display them in a real-life setting, one with which key users could really relate.
Microsoft had done nontraditional outreach before, but "never a full brand emersion on network TV," says Brooke Richardson, Windows Live group product manager. By partnering with Fox Sports Net's Best Damn Sports Show Period (BDSSP), it was able to showcase its products in a physical setting and tap into an Internet-optimizing, male, 18 to 49 audience.
The emersion weaves Windows Live naturally into BDSSP's set and on-air dialogue, says Steve Doctrow, Rogers & Cowan EVP of integrated marketing. "We actually used [physical] elements of Windows Live to make for very compelling TV," he says. Features like 3-D mapping "integrate right within the show without being blatant." The brand also gets prominent exposure via an on-set Windows Live Lounge. The effort also was extended to BDSSP's Web site.
Windows Live has been "truly integrated into the show," says Kristine Bangert, marketing manager for Windows Live. A benchmark was its Super Bowl integration where a Miami hotel's poolside cabana morphed into BDSSP central, with a Windows Live Lounge that "really showed off the brand," Doctrow says. "Laptops had people using Windows Live services all week." The effort has also helped R&C develop research and ROI techniques to use in the future.
Microsoft and R&C say the Windows Live/BDSSP relationship will continue to evolve.
Microsoft Windows Live
PR team: Microsoft Windows Live (Redmond, WA) and Rogers & Cowan (Los Angeles)
Campaign: Microsoft Windows Live/Fox Sports Net's Best Damn Sports Show Period integration
Duration: October 2006-ongoing
Budget: Approximately $35,000