New Microsoft holiday ad campaign: We are family

New Microsoft holiday ad campaign: We are family

Summary: Microsoft is launching a new holiday ad campaign during NBC Sunday Night Football with the theme "It's a Great Time to Be a Family."

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Microsoft is kicking off a new holiday ad campaign during Sunday Night Football on NBC on October 16.

The theme of the 35-country campaign, created by Microsoft ad partner Crispin Porter + Bogusky, is "It's a great time to be a family." Microsoft is using the word "family" in two ways: To emphasize that its Windows PC, Office, Xbox/Kinect and Windows Phone technologies can appear to all members of families; and to play up its portfolio, or family, of technologies.

(Microsoft isn't disclosing how much it is spending on the new family-focused campaign.)

"Consumers are making portfolio-level decisions," said David Webster, Microsoft Chief Marketing Strategist. "We want them to meet the family."

Microsoft isn't going to be playing up in any of the new spots the new "Windows PCs in tablet form factors" that its hardware partners are bringing to market. (The company's real iPad competitors -- Windows 8 tablets -- are still about a year away from availability, company watchers believe.) Instead, the new spots will be highlighting more traditional Windows 7 PCs, which might be of interest to XP home users who haven't looked at the new form factors that have been introduced in the past few years.

The ads will show these kinds of PCs as just one of a number of Microsoft products that might appeal to holiday shoppers, Webster said.

"It's a big experiment for us, putting all these products (from different Microsoft business groups) together," Websters said.

Microsoft isn't going to be emphasizing speeds, feeds or interoperability among these products in its new campaign. Instead, it will be attempting to get users who might have one Microsoft product at home (or work) to think about buying another.

"A lot of people don't know we (Microsoft) make the Xbox," Webster said.

The new campaign won't replace the single-product ad campaigns Microsoft already has and/or is planning to launch this year (such as dedicated Xbox campaigns). In markets where Microsoft Stores exist, the ads will drive users to those stores; in markets where they don't, Microsoft's new ads will direct potential buyers to their local retail stores.

I asked Webster what kinds of families (traditional, nuclear vs. more modern-day ones) Microsoft was highlighting in the new campaign. He said the main focus will be on "extended families," of which everyone can claim to be a part.

Update (October 16): Here's one of the first ads in the new "family" holiday series (thanks, @harlemS):

And here's the one that aired during Sunday night football pre-game:

What do you think?

Topics: Tablets, Hardware, Laptops, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

About

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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55 comments
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  • Sounds ...

    ... nice.
    P. Douglas
    • Just don't mention little zune

      Never really had a chance, poor little guy. Xmas will never be the same really;-)
      Richard Flude
      • You are right

        @Richard Flude
        Nothing can compete against Apple.

        It is a sick market.

        We all lose.
        toddybottom
      • Ditto

        [i]Nothing can compete against Apple.

        It is a sick market.

        We all lose.[/i]

        I've been telling Microsoft that for years.
        ScorpioBlue
      • RE: New Microsoft holiday ad campaign: We are family

        @Richard Flude

        You do know that Zune isn't actually dead, just integrated into WP7? The hardware, yes, but that's not a surprise - dedicated PMPs have been dying for a number of years now (except amongst those of us who really care about SQ)
        spacespeed@...
  • RE: New Microsoft holiday ad campaign: We are family

    >>A lot of people don???t know we (Microsoft) make the Xbox,??? Webster said<<
    This is proof of Microsoft being not only out of touch, but delusional. The xbox 60 box has Microsoft right on it, and I am sure consumers are not that ignorant. Maybe Microsoft is looking for another half a billion in write offs.
    Rick_Kl
    • RE: New Microsoft holiday ad campaign: We are family

      @Rick_Kl

      Please show at least one picture of an Xbox 360 or packaging with the word Microsoft 'right on it'. It's not asking much for one picture to prove your point, is it?...
      TechNickle
      • RE: New Microsoft holiday ad campaign: We are family

        @FuzzyBunnySlippers
        http://www.joystiq.com/2007/08/10/spot-the-hdmi-enabled-xbox-360-premium-at-retail/
        Look at the picture in the lower area of the page. It clearly states Microsoft Corporation, One Microsoft Way Redmond Wa.
        Rick_Kl
    • @FuzzyBunnySlippers is right

      Which explains why Microsoft is ashamed of itself.

      lol...
      ScorpioBlue
  • It's important to not mention 'Microsoft'

    people immediately have distasteful and hateful thoughts toward that name, so you gotta mention other names or whatever!
    MSFTWorshipper
    • Can't say that I blame them

      Whenever the younger crowd sees the word Microsoft, they think of daddy's lumbering old XP machine.
      ScorpioBlue
  • RE: New Microsoft holiday ad campaign: We are family

    "Portfolio-level decisions"?

    At what level were the consumers making decisions the last time Microsoft looked?

    Is the portfolio above or below the mezzanine?

    This consumer is making the Bikini Bottom level decision to wish them a Spongebobby good look with that and to move on.
    DannyO_0x98
  • RE: New Microsoft holiday ad campaign: We are family

    This may be a repeat post, but I waited before I redid it.

    "Portfolio-level decision?" At what level were decisions made before and is the portfolio above the basement but below the mezzanine?

    Well, if that's the premise that drives the campaign: good luck with that.
    DannyO_0x98
  • RE: New Microsoft holiday ad campaign: We are family

    I'm not sure how well this is going to pan out. I love Microsoft and I'm not here to start a flame war. To be honest, Microsoft products and interoperability really needs to be refined because it's not too user friendly. For example, "Homegroup" setup sharing media I feel it's still in its infant stage. The really need to focus on integration (which they clearly admit that they are eliminating from the advertisement). Win8 is not ready for primetime and they are too slow in moving forward and I think their strategy isn't clear. There should be a Windows 7.5 (just like WP7.5) to boost the tablet usability to bridge the gap. Anyway, I still hope this will work and have some impact for business.
    jack@...
  • Family sounds sweet....

    Unfortunately it's usual families breaking up as well.

    This Phone talks makes people go nuts these days.
    Has gone to far when believe it'll work in desktop computers.

    What they have to offer the PC market this time is just crazy. 3 years work from a company in this size, wouldn't it be conceivable in claim and expecting something better?
    Thorsland
  • RE: New Microsoft holiday ad campaign: We are family

    Using the word 'family' and 'Microsoft' in the same sentence seems very odd. While I get the idea of trying to leverage on the success of some products to sell others, the perception of technology products like MS's (including the XBox) is that they are 'anti-family' in that they promote the ability to 'be alone in the crowd' by using technology to disconnect from those around us. For example, the XBox and other MS products, if they foster any human connection, it is with remote people, not with those around us. Trying to promote family seems awfully counter-intuitive to me. Good luck.
    dlavenda
    • RE: New Microsoft holiday ad campaign: We are family

      @dlavenda

      Not really. Kinect multiplayer seems to encourage it, rather.
      spacespeed@...
  • I have questions...

    ...about Dog.PPT. Who makes PowerPoint presentations when discussing things at home? Is that how people really use computers at home nowadays?

    My home is very tech-friendly, with computers (Windows and Mac), laptops, smartphones, and video game consoles in nearly every room throughout the house. Although all of the computers in the house have Microsoft Office installed, not one person in my household has ever made a PowerPoint presentation to argue a point or present an idea to the rest of the family.

    So...is this how computers are really used? I'm thinking Microsoft may have missed the mark with this one.
    jasondlnd
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