MSN.com, the Microsoft online property with identity problems, wants to tell the world it knows who and what it is. An $18.5 million consumer ad campaign, launching today, reworks the Microsoft corporate theme “Where do you want to go today?” into a print, radio, outdoor and online blitz that is expected to deliver 1 billion gross impressions in the next four months.
“The Microsoft Network has been kind of an unknown entity,” said Marty Taucher, director, MSN. “We knew we couldn’t win in this space by building 10 little brands [such as Microsoft-produced site CarPoint]. Last summer, we started re-engineering the Web portal, to make MSN.com a single unified brand.” On the redesigned front page, launched in September, content areas are listed by topic only, instead of by brand name such as CarPoint or HomeAdvisor. The network of content at MSN.com placed it No. 2 in reach among all Web properties in December, according to New York-based Media Metrix.
The new campaign, created by Anderson & Lembke, San Francisco, launches with two-page spreads in newsweeklies including Newsweek and Time, as well as online banner ads. They’ll be followed by newspaper ads and spot radio ads in seven markets. The print ads target mainstream users and Web enthusiasts who use the Net to get things done.
An outdoor trade campaign in San Francisco and New York, with eight executions, has another purpose. “We’re an advertising network, and we’re trying to convince agencies to buy banners with us,” Taucher said.
“We’re able to work with manufacturers to do something that’s really valuable, and since we own that property, we can build it right in,” said Charlotte Guyman, director of MSN sales. For instance, on CarPoint, Microsoft can build 3D videos of car interiors and exteriors.
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