Microsoft Solicits Consumer ‘Wows’ for Vista Launch

NEW YORK Microsoft hopes to build excitement for its release of Windows Vista with a user-generated Web site that collects recollections of amazing life moments—and demonstrates key product features along the way. invites users worldwide to upload videos and photos detailing life-transforming moments they have experienced, i.e., “wows.” The site is meant to convey some of the wows of Vista, like its Flip 3-D navigation and photo and editing features. The operating system is due for release Jan. 30.

The site, built by MSN’s branded entertainment unit, is a forerunner to a “Wow” general ad campaign that will break at the end of the month with the tagline, “When you see it, you’ll say it.”

The Web effort, which will be advertised extensively throughout the MSN network and other Microsoft sites, allows users to experience specific product features, said Brian Marr, a marketing manager for Windows Vista.

“That’s a hard thing to do in print or traditional above-the-line” advertising,” he said.

In his submission, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates (user name: Bill) tells about company co-founder Paul Allen showing him an article on early personal computing in 1979, as well as the birth of his children and Warren Buffet’s decision to donate his billions to Gates’ charity. Visitors can browse and rate other user submissions.

Microsoft has recruited a clutch of celebrities to contribute “wows,” including TV stars Clinton Kelly of What Not to Wear, Joy Behar from The View and Genevieve Gorder of Trading Spaces.

Submissions to the site through March 8 make users eligible to win several prizes, including a computer loaded with Windows Vista and a grand prize of a weeklong trip to a “wow” vista, like Sydney Harbor, the Eiffel Tower or the Great Wall.