Microsoft this week launched a TV, Web and radio campaign for Zune, via Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, that touts the company’s ability to turn PCs into “music discovery” machines.
In a commercial introducing its new Zune 3.0 digital music site, www.zune.net, rapper Common talks about his musical influences such as Africa Bambaataa, who appears along with the star entertainer in a collage of video windows on a computer screen that also includes a fan talking to the rapper about his recent “Universal Mind Control” release.
The spot, which began running last night on NBC’s Heroes, showcases Zune’s “mixview” option that when clicked brings up related selections to the song being played. The ad ends with an invitation for viewers to download the free desktop software and the “Turn your PC into a music discovery machine” tagline. A second spot shows a similar exchange between Kings of Leon and Robbie Robertson.
The process of music discovery through the Zune brand is central to the communications effort, said Chris Stephenson, general manager of global marketing and entertainment at Microsoft. The home page of the Zune site introduces Zune 3.0 as “The Future of Music Exploration.” “Experiencing the music is the most important thing,” said Stephenson.
In a market dominated by Apple, which defines its entertainment services through its iPod, Zune is highlighting its “mixview” feature to entice viewers to download the free software, the entry point to the brand, where consumers can familiarize themselves with its subscription services and ultimately its MP3 devices. “We are going about it through the PC and the software rather the MP3 player only,” Stephenson said.
The campaign is the MDC agency’s first work for the brand. “We liked the underdog mentality of some of their work and in such a hyper competitive market against Apple we are the underdog here,” said Stephenson, explaining the creative agency switch from Xbox shop McCann Worldgroup’s T.A.G., which handles Xbox and last year promoted the MP3 player as an iPod alternative. “It was an opportunity to get fresh thinking on the account,” he said. (Related: “Crispin Adds Microsoft’s Zune.”)
That fresh thinking includes a strategy that more closely aligns Zune with its corporate parent. “We were looking to drive the Zune brand closer to Microsoft and the PC platform,” said Stephenson.
The company also plans to reveal a new-subscription model this week “that’ll make it easier for people to get into the model,” he said.
Crispin joined the Microsoft roster in February following a review and launched the branding effort “Windows. Life without walls” in September. The campaign’s most recent advertising features people declaring, “I’m a PC.”
Microsoft spends about $40 million on ads in the U.S. supporting Zune.