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Microsoft’s latest marketing ploy: Gigantic pushpins

It has come to this in Microsoft’s online struggle against Google and Yahoo: Oversized office supplies.

If you’ve been driving around Seattle today and wondering about those humongous red pushpins, it turns out that they are, in fact, a Microsoft promotion. Specifically, they’re meant to drum up interest in the Collections custom mapping feature on Microsoft’s Live Search Maps.

The pins have been installed on the buildings of B&O Espresso in Capitol Hill, Mama’s Kitchen in Belltown, OKOK Gallery in Ballard, and Ballard Sip & Ship. Each of the businesses has a sign in the window pointing to the promotional site thepushpinproject.com. “It’s another entry point for consumers to get introduced to our product,” said Justin Osmer, a Microsoft senior product manager.

Everyone will be surely be clamoring for the details on this, so here they are: The pushpins are inflatable, about 8 feet by 4 feet, and they’re technically considered art installations, so they didn’t have to go through city permitting. Working with Microsoft on the campaign was marketing agency Wexley School for Girls, where former Windows group marketing manager Brian Marr is now managing director.

Microsoft didn’t pay to install the pins. Instead, Osmer said, the businesses are assuming they’ll be getting some attention out of the arrangement, as well. The pins will be in their current locations for a couple weeks, and Microsoft plans to put more pins elsewhere in the city in the coming month. If the campaign is successful, Osmer said, it may be expanded to other cities.

Although Microsoft’s Collections mapping feature isn’t as well known, it was actually released well before Google’s “My Maps” custom-mapping feature.

Source:? Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Microsoft, Marketing, Strategy, Policy

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