creative campaigns: Everyday People

Windows 2000 effort focuses on businesses large and small
By Justin M. NortonSay you’ve got a mega-client looking to sell a product that just about everyone knows and uses. Most people own an older version of the product which runs as efficiently as the vintage sedan in the garage. How do you convince people it’s time to trade in their old system for something new?
If you’re McCann Erickson/ A&L–and your client is software king Microsoft–you return to the basics and downplay the huge publicity launches of years past.
In addition, you target the product to a specific audience–in this case businesses–and let its virtues speak to everyday people.
The $150 million campaign broke Feb. 17, shortly after a spate of branding spots touting the Microsoft Network. McCann’s San Francisco and New York offices worked on the campaign.
“Simplicity is a good thing right now,” says Michael McClaren, executive vice president/director of client services for the agency. “Windows 2000 is about total reliability and total availability … and it’s being marketed as something that will help your business to the core.”
TV spots emphasize the sheer practicality of the system, especially for businesses trying to take advantage of e-commerce.
Several commercials are planned for the effort, but the only TV ad to break so far is a 30-second spot titled “Fire Up.” It makes its point with few words and no visuals.
“The idea that you can set your business free is known. … What [you] need to know is there is a platform that can work dependably with your business,” says Eric Einhorn, executive vice president of strategic planning for McCann-Erickson in North America.
The spot starts out by flashing phrases like “orderpaperclips.com” and “fire up the sales force.com” on the screen. The words gradually speed up, each time showing how businesses can benefit from
Windows 2000. The spot ends with the tagline, “The Business Internet starts with Microsoft.”
The genesis of the creative process for the Windows campaign began by identifying the target audience: information technology workers and businesspeople.
The ads were then designed to show that Windows 2000 is the perfect operating system for the Internet age by simply stating it’s strength: quickly handling a host of business needs, from speed to accessibility.
“If you look at something like Windows 2000, it promises very tangible things in what it can deliver to businesses,” adds Jonathan Cranin, McCann’s executive creative director, and creative director on the first Windows 2000 spot.
The print work is also meant to show how the Internet can empower business. The ads feature numerous photos of businesspeople, such as a snapshot of a child at a lemonade stand and others of various professionals. In each, the person profiled has used Windows 2000 to improve sales or make life easier.
One print ad features the manager of development for Internet retailer buy.com standing in an empty building. The copy says she will be able to quickly bring stores online with the help of Windows 2000. Internet users can also log on to their computers and read profiles of featured businesspeople. Outdoor ads are also running nationwide. K

McCann-Erickson/A&L
Creative Director
Jonathan Cranin
Copywriters
Michael Bettendorf David Fullarton
Art Directors
Leanne Doherty
Ashley Reese
Cabell Molina
Paul Hernandez
Photographer
Darryl Estrine
Production Co.
Blind
Music
Machine Head

Arnold Communications
Chief Creative Officer
Ron Lawner
Art Director
Margaret McGovern
Copywriter
Carl Loeb
TV producer
Amy Feenan
Director
Lisa Rubish
Editors
Filmcore/Doug Walker

Radio Copywriter
Bill Girouard
Radio Producer
Holly Archibald
Music
Elias Associates