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Microsoft Gets Social for Kin Phone Launch

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The average person on Facebook has 130 friends, but most of them aren't really "friends" at all.

That's the premise of a campaign from Microsoft that introduces its Kin phone, which is pitched as a device designed specifically "for people who are actively navigating their social lives." Kin, a long-awaited, touch-screen mobile device that was code-named "Pink," was based on feedback from more than 50,000 consumers in the target 20-something age range. Like some other devices, notably Motorola's Cliq TX with Motoblur, Kin pools several social media streams including Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Windows Live. But unlike Blur, Kin lets consumers program their phone so their closest friends' updates rise to the top, a feature Microsoft calls The Loop.

An online and TV campaign from agencytwofifteen (formerly T.A.G), San Francisco, called "The Social Media Sociologist," will focus on that feature by homing in on one consumer: Rosa Salazar, a 24-year-old aspiring comedian from Brooklyn, N.Y. Camera crews have and will continue to follow Salazar as she explores how she really relates to her 700-plus Facebook friends. (See the first spot.)

"We're going to go find out if her friends are really her friends. We started digging into it asking, 'What about this person? What about that person?'" said Todd Peters, corporate vp, mobile communications at Microsoft. For instance, in one of the ads (which will appear in longer form online), Microsoft explores whether it's a good idea for Salazar to be friends with her ex-boyfriend: "He was kind of a voyeur. He was hanging around her site. He was following her, not in a creepy way, but he was following her."

Peters said the work is done tongue in cheek. Though it's in a cinema verite, reality TV style, it wasn't designed to be weighty. Said Peters: "We're trying to hold a mirror up to society for this generation that's so socially connected in a way that hasn't been done before."

In future installments, Salazar will have real-life meetings with celebrity "friends," including Andy Samberg and a yet-unnamed band.

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