Microsoft at the Movies

In the past, Microsoft has purchased the rights to Rolling Stones songs, consumed seemingly endless TV airtime and employed a who’s who of actors for voiceover work. Now the software giant is ready for the silver screen.

Microsoft has fi nalized a deal with National Cinema Net work to screen an extended version of a Windows XP spot before select films, including Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The theater campaign, a first for Microsoft, is set to run through the end of the year.

“Microsoft was excited by the captive environment of the movie theater,” said Laura Adler, vice president of marketing for the National Cinema Network, which acts as a liaison between advertisers and theater chains.

Created by Microsoft’s lead agency, McCann-Erickson Worldwide in San Francisco, the 60-second trailer opens with an image of a man running through a field as Madonna’s “Ray of Light” plays in the background. The ad then cuts to images of people flying, interspersed with shots of other people using Micro soft software.

Adler said ad vertising in theaters is a strong draw for the agency’s creative team be cause of the large-screen venue and surround-sound opportunities. Microsoft also wanted to reach the many movie goers who will likely flock to see the high-profile films released for the holiday season.

The ads will run in theaters in 12 markets, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. The contract value for the cinemas was not released. Microsoft’s total advertising ac count is an estimated $300-350 million. The client could not be reached for comment.