Microsoft gets a new head of Windows Phone marketing and advertising

Microsoft gets a new head of Windows Phone marketing and advertising

Summary: Microsoft has named yet another new head of Windows Phone marketing -- just in time for the postponed Nokia Lumia 900 launch on AT&T.


Microsoft has replaced its previous head of Windows Phone marketing with a former McCann Worldgroup partner with telecom and advertising chops.

Microsoft quietly announced on March 19 that Thom Gruhler had been appointed the new Corporate Vice President of Windows Phone Marketing. He is replacing Achim Berg, who was the most recent Windows Phone Marketing Vice President. Berg left that post in November 2011 to become head of Operator Channels at Microsoft. (Berg spearheads relationships with "operator, hoster, cable and media partners to create new business opportunities and bring innovative services and devices to consumers, small businesses and enterprise users.")

Gruhler's job is to run marketing, advertising and communications for Windows Phone. At McCann, most recently, Gruhler was the global managing partner of Telecom & Technology.

According to Microsoft's press release, Gruhler was the leader of McCann's Verizon business, leading the team that developed the “Can you hear me now?” campaign. He also oversaw relationships with other key McCann clients, including Mastercard, Kohl’s and McCann Worldgroup’s Sony Ericsson, the release said.

Gruhler is reporting to Terry Myerson, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed. Myerson, who had been leading engineering for the phone unit, became the Corporate Vice President in charge of Windows Phone in December 2011. He took that job when Microsoft moved  Windows Phone division President Andy Lees to a new role, having something having to do with Windows Phone and Windows 8 in 2012.

(Yes, it's been musical chairs in the Windows Phone unit in the past year-plus.)

Gruhler takes on his new job at a critical juncture for Windows Phone. Microsoft and its closest phone partner Nokia were supposed to have launched the "hero phone" Nokia Lumia 900 on AT&T here in the U.S. on March 18. I know there are some out there who claim Microsoft never said this publicly, so there's no slippage. But there was an internal Microsoft roadmap (dated December 2011) with the March 18 date printed as plain as day on it for the Lumia 900 (codenamed "Ace"). Here's a small snap from the page I've seen about the Ace:

So, yes, it's now looking like the Lumia 900 is going to launch some time in in April -- like it is slated to do in the UK. Maybe April 8? Or April 22? No idea, on my part.

Topics: Software, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Telcos, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Well THAT was a no brainer....

    Good luck MS!

    Pagan jim
    James Quinn
    • So how many heads have been replaced so far?

      7? 8? 10?

      Pushing for a new record here.
  • I think what MS should do to Windows Phone ...

    ... ODMs, is provide them a strategy on how to sell their Windows Phones, and then support them on it. I think MS should essentially tell them to do what Nokia is doing. E.g. within a few short weeks, Nokia managed to make the Lumia 710, the third best selling phone on T-Mobile. I don't see where marketing alone will help ODMs sell Windows Phones: ODMs will have to ensure that their phones also have great retail experiences.

    I like the company that does Google TV ads - in particular the ad with the muppets. I think MS should just hire them. I also think the MS enthusiast community should have influence over MS TV marketing. I think MS should create a panel of perceptive enthusiasts, to say yea or nay over ads and ad directions, before the company goes through with them.
    P. Douglas
    • There is only one thing they need to do ....

      ... get rid of MetroUI.

      No matter what fanboys claim, fact is that the reason why WP7 is dead last on the mobile OS world (even behind Bada and MeeGo) is because the great majority of people dislike the MetroUI.
  • Give that Verizon geek a Lumia.

    I would like to believe that this fellow had absolutely nothing to do with Verizon's "it turns you into a space pod" ads for the XOOM.

    Here's a question for Siri: can Metro PCS sell Metro?
    Robert Hahn
  • Somebody should write a book

    Somebody should write a book about technically amazing but very unpopular platform like Windows Phone. I find it fascinating that MS could develop it, provide awesome and free dev tools, get developers interested yet failed to get any decent sales.
    There is a major business lesson somewhere.
    We heard that MS and Nokia were spending an extraordinary amount of money on Windows Phone marketing this year. Yet I see almost nothing in US. Is it all spent outside US or did somebody just robbed an armored car that was carrying all that marketing money? It would be hard to do this kind of crappy marketing on purpose.
    • The problem is MetroUI

      No matter how (allegedly) "amazing" or "awesome" the platform is, in the end nothing matters but the user experience. And MetroUI feels like it was created for the LeapFrog platform ... in other words, it looks like something made for a TODDLER, not an adult.
      • Metro is not a problem

        I violently disagree.
        I think that all touch interfaces were made for TODDLERs because real men use keyboards ;)
    • Marketing Money

      @Paul2011 , I don't think the money has been spent yet. Maybe hardly been started to be spent - I think more than anything, they're waiting on the Lumia 900. There may still be more later, but they're definitely going to spend big on it.
  • Where's the 8107 update?.?.?

    Can someone ask this guy where the 8107 update is? It was released to carriers around January 6th and I'm sick and tired of my keyboard disappearing when I'm typing. No amount of advertising dollars they spend will get me to buy another WP if I have to deal with this much longer. It sometimes disappears 3 times composing a single text.
    • Hasn't it started rolling out?
  • On Roadmaps

    Well, last December the next iPad's launch date was not really more tangible than "in 2012." In February, I think we were hearing the March rumors.

    Not that they are competing products, but with the Lumia 900 being a turn-the-corner the-future-today product for Windows Phone, I expect Microsoft, Nokia, and AT&T (who would have been given some advance general notice) didn't want to share the attentions of the press and public with Apple.

    I'm also in the school that says until there's an announced date, there is no late.
  • I Just Don't Know...

    I'm not sure if Windows Phone will ever get off the ground.
  • AT&T is no help.

    When I went into AT&T they pushed the Android phones so hard and never took me to look at the windows phone. I had read up a little before I went in and asked to see one and they acted like you don't want that phone you will like the Android phone better. I did buy the windows phone no thanks to AT&T. I have been very happy with the phone. You can not get the windows phone off the ground when the phone companies are telling people not to buy windows phones. Some of my Family and Friends have had this happen to them as well.
    • Verizon and WP

      imsims commented on AT&T. The new guy for Microsoft is from Verizon. I went into a Verizon about a week ago and asked about Windows Phones. Verizon only carries one Windows Phone and won't be carrying the Nokia Lumia. They weren't carrying the WP in the store (so no WPs to be seen).

      Makes it kind of ironic that a Verizon guy is doing the marketing when Verizon seems to have pretty weak support for the device to begin with.
      • Not from Verizon

        While you're right that Verizon is lukewarm at best on Windows Phone, the new marketing chief is not from Verizon. He oversaw a Marketing campaign made for Verizon. That has little to do with Verizon's corporate decisions on whether or not to support Windows Phone.
  • Drew the short straw?

    Probably buffing up his LinkedIn already.
  • This won't help....

    Microsoft has some major challenges to face before Windows Phone can even be considered viable

    Details here -
  • No Killer App...

    Windows Phone has no "Killer App" (an App that is unique to Windows Phone and that a majority of people want) to speak of. Without that, it seems many are content to just sit back and 1) hang on to their old phone or 2)stick with Android or iPhone. I fall into the first category as my older Nokia S60 E71 Smartphone does 85% of what I want it to do, is paid for, and the newer phones give me little incentive to buy them other than having something "shiney and new".
    • The Experience is the Killer App

      The overall Windows Phone experience is the killer app. There are 100 or 150 million Americans alone with no smartphone yet. A Windows Phone is head and shoulders above what they have, and certainly worth an upgrade. Making them upgrade, and upgrade to Windows Phone, is certainly work left to do, but there's definitely an opportunity.