McCann Thinks Local for Global Microsoft

LOS ANGELES A new phase of Microsoft’s “Realizing potential” campaign by Interpublic Group’s McCann Erickson launched Sunday, according to the Seattle-based technology corporation.

Like the previous “Potential” work, which appeared in the U.S. in 2002 and expanded globally in 2004, the new, international effort highlights the ways in which Microsoft’s technologies and partnerships affect everyday life—this time, with a distinctly local flavor.

While work continues to rely on the established combination of live action, simple animation and “Your potential. Our passion” tagline, “it’s the most [regionally] localized ad campaign Microsoft has ever done,” said group product manager Mike Lucero. “It’s more local in terms of how it was cast and shot, in terms of voiceovers and body copy . . . The different scenarios pay off specifically to country-oriented programs and the Microsoft tools each use.”

More than 20 community-specific TV, print and Web executions depict environments from classrooms and start-up businesses to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Germany’s Schlaumausse program, all of which depend upon Microsoft computers or software, said Dante Lombardi, creative director at McCann in San Francisco, the client’s lead agency. White chalk-like drawings appear as “what Microsoft sees as potential,” he said. Accompanying text explains how each program benefits from its relationship with Microsoft.

Another addition to this year’s effort is a call-to-action component. Each execution features a link to online resources, including “more in-depth presentations of local programs and [the] efforts of local people being realized,” said McCann group account director Bob Ellis.

Media, handled by IPG’s Universal McCann in New York, includes global placement through June.

A “Realizing potential”-specific spend was not available. Microsoft spent $316 million on brand advertising in 2004, per TNS Media Intelligence, and $279 million from January to September 2005.