NEW YORK Microsoft is continuing its attacks on Apple products as overpriced with a new Web campaign for its Zune portable media player.
In a Web video, financial planner and former reality show star Wes Moss presents the case that the 120GB iPod would cost $30,000 to fill with music buying songs at $1 each at the iTunes Store. "People worry about the capacity of their iPod," Moss says in the 30-second spot. "What about the capacity of their bank account?"
The spot promotes Zune Pass, Microsoft's music service that offers unlimited song downloads for $14.99 per month. "One costs a lot and one costs a little," Moss says.
MDC Partners' Crispin Porter + Bogusky, which won the Zune assignment last November to add to its work for Microsoft Windows Vista, did the campaign. Its earlier work, starring rapper Common, focused on turning PCs into "music discovery" machines.
Microsoft is running ads for the two-month campaign on sites like MySpace, Pandora, Gamefly and Hulu. It includes a YouTube channel with the Moss video. The campaign is Web only.
Microsoft introduced Zune Pass as part its effort to crack into the digital music market. The Zune player, which Microsoft introduced in November 2006 to compete with the wildly popular iPod, has failed to find much of an audience. According to financial filings, Microsoft sold just $85 million worth of Zunes in the most recent holiday quarter, a drop of more than 50 percent from the same period a year earlier
Digital music has remained mostly an a la carte business dominated by iTunes. Subscription services like Rhapsody and Napster haven't been as popular. One thing not mentioned in the ads: thrifty iPod owners can't use the Zune Pass subscription plan, which is only compatible with Zune.
The value message isn't new for Microsoft. Crispin pushed a similar line of attack with its "It's a PC" ads. Those show cash-strapped consumers choosing PCs over Macs after determining they can get more for their money with Microsoft alternatives. Those ads star real-life consumers.
For Zune, Microsoft has turned to Moss, a former contestant on The Apprentice (he was fired) who is a financial planner in Georgia, has his own personal finance radio show and appears on cable networks to comment on business matters.
Moss also stars at Zunepass.net, where visitors can use the sliders of a "Max'd calculator" to determine how much they're spending at iTunes versus a Zunepass subscription.
Crispin plans to refresh the campaign with five new videos starring Moss.
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