LOS ANGELES Microsoft's MSN network of Internet services today said it is launching a new version of MSN via a multimedia campaign that has its Butterfly character speaking for the first time.
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 launch of MSN 8, as well as online advertising via Avenue A in Seattle. "It's better with the Butterfly" remains as the tagline.
Spending for the campaign was undisclosed. MSN spent nearly $105 million on ads in 2002 and more than $75 million through October 2003, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.
The campaign is meant to inform consumers, especially those with high-speed broadband connections, about the benefits of the new MSN, which is slated for release on Jan. 8. It also encourages them to experience those services.
"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 at Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft Corp., 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 10 15-second TV spots from McCann aim to showcase MSN as a world of answers ready to be tapped. In "Apologies," the Butterfly helps a love-struck man win back his lady friend. In another execution, the Butterfly helps a guy get ready for a reunion. There are also four print ads and billboards that will appear in Las Vegas during the 2004 Consumer Electronics Show. To increase consumer awareness of the MSN brand, the client for the first time is sponsoring cable TV shows, series and program episodes on networks like the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, VH1, HGTV and the Travel Channel.
Online efforts include home page take-over ads appearing on MSN and partner sites. Weather.com is displaying the MSN banner on its home page, and MSN will also be the premier advertiser on the home pages of sites including About, CNET and washingtonpost.com. Five 15-second spots will also appear via the new MSN Video, a free-streaming video service.