Microsoft is planning to pitch its entire range of retail products -- from Xbox Kinect and Office, to Windows PC and Phone -- as a lifestyle portfolio for the entire household, starting during the pre-game of Sunday Night Football on NBC.
In this regard, Microsoft is kicking off a new holiday ad campaign, created by Microsoft ad partner Crispin Porter + Bogusky, goes under the tagline "It's a great time to be a family," during Sunday Night Football on NBC on October 16.
The same creative concept will run in 35 global markets, including the U.S. The ads themselves have no dialog, so many versions of the same ads will air around the world with actors of different ethnicities and local music. Some of the international versions -- such as those made for India and Japan -- will also air in the U.S. (Yes, Indian-Americans, you can definitely expect Bollywood references.)
It's the first time the company will be advertising four products at once, David Webster, Microsoft's chief marketing strategist, told Ad Age in an interview Thursday. The campaign is about technology that brings families together, rather than isolates people when they're together, he added. "Much like a family portrait rather than individual headshots," he said.
"Consumers are making portfolio-level decisions," said Webster. "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.
Microsoft retail partners such as Best Buy will also merchandize Microsoft products together, in step with the campaign, Mr. 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 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.
Update: Microsoft has posted the first two videos in this ad campaign.
Here's the ad called "Epic Share":
And, here's "Dog.PPT":
[Via: All About Microsoft]