Microsoft stirs its consumer-focused advertising pot

There's been more fallout from Microsoft's rejiggering of its advertising game plan. According to AdAge, Microsoft has decided to switch ad agencies for both its Bing and Office accounts. Windows Mobile might be next.

There's been more fallout from Microsoft's rejiggering of its advertising game plan.

According to AdAge, Microsoft has decided to switch ad agencies for both its Bing and Office accounts, both of which previously had been the domain of JWT. According to AdAge:

"Microsoft last week was mum on the reason for the agency changes, which JWT CEO Bob Jeffrey decried as unfair and anger-inducing. And more are said to be on the way, particularly relating to Windows Mobile, which is handled by CPB."

CPB is Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the ad agency that created the "I'm a PC" (and Seinfeld) commercials. According to GeekWire, CPB is poised to begin a new phase of the "I'm a PC" campaign, as of May 9, with new TV spots focused on pushing Windows 7 PCs. CPB currently is the lead agency on Windows Phone.

I'm wondering if Microsoft execs are thinking about awarding the Bing and Windows Phone advertising to the same agency, given how much Microsoft is counting on Bing to be a key differentiator for Windows Phone -- as the latest rumors about Bing Vision and Bing Audio features for the "Mango" phone release make clear. That's just a wild guess on my part, though....

Microsoft officials acknowledged in January that the company was shopping around the part of its ad spending that was handled by Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Universal McCann. The estimate of the value of the contract was $1 billion. Publicis Group’s Starcom MediaVest unit ended up winning a substantial percentage (according to reports) of Microsoft’s North American media-buying dollars.

The latest Microsoft ad-agency shift comes just weeks after Microsoft announced that long-time marketing chief Mich Matthews would be retiring this year, and Chris Capossela would be replacing her.

Update: Microsoft officials confirmed on May 9 that JWT will no longer be handling the Bing and Office accounts.  A spokesperson said Interpublic's Deutsch will be adding the Office account to its Microsoft commercial work.  "As a business best practice, Microsoft regularly evaluates its agency mix to ensure we retain the most qualified partners for our business needs. WPP remains a valuable partner," said the Microsoft spokesperson. (Note: WPP is the parent company of JWT.)