MSN Butterfly Speaks in Multimedia Push

LOS ANGELES Microsoft said today that it is introducing the latest version of MSN via a multimedia campaign that for the first time features the Butterfly character in a speaking role.

The effort includes TV, print and outdoor ads from Interpublic Group’s McCann-Erickson in San Francisco, which created the Butterfly theme for last year’s MSN 8 launch, as well as online advertising from aQuantive’s Avenue A in Seattle. “It’s better with the Butterfly” remains the tagline.

The campaign is meant to inform consumers, especially those with high-speed Internet connections, about the benefits of the new MSN, due out Jan. 8.

“The Butterfly resonates with consumers as fun, friendly and approachable, and it’s quickly become the personification of MSN,” said Richard Bray, vice president of MSN North America, in a statement. “The ads portray the Butterfly as a resource that’s an integral part of the family, much as we see the next version of MSN becoming an integrated part of the consumers’ everyday lives.”

Five 30-second and ten 15-second TV spots aim to showcase MSN as a world of answers ready to be tapped. One TV spot, for instance, shows the Butterfly helping a love-struck man win back his lady friend.

The online portion of the campaign includes home-page roadblocks on MSN and partner sites, as well as premier placements on Weather.com, About, CNET and WashingtonPost.com, among others. Some of the 15-second TV spots will run on MSN Video, a free streaming-video service debuting this winter, and broadband-centric sites, including AtomFilms, Shockwave.com and IFILM.

Also for the first time, the Redmond, Wash.-based client is sponsoring programs on networks like the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, VH1 and HGTV in an effort to increase MSN brand awareness.

Spending for the campaign was undisclosed. MSN put nearly $105 million behind measured media in 2002 and more than $75 million through October 2003, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.