Microsoft Stays Calm

Windows 98 Gets a Relatively Quiet Debut
By Angela Dawson
LOS ANGELES–What a difference three years makes.
Microsoft is taking a low-key approach to this Thursday’s launch of its Windows 98 software.
No TV advertising. No Rolling Stones anthem. Compared to Windows 95’s $100 million launch campaign, Windows 98’s relatively modest ad budget is estimated at $10 million. The world’s largest software company is promoting the upgrade with product-focused print and online ads from roster agencies Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., and Anderson & Lembke, San Francisco, respectively. The tagline: “Works better. Plays better.”
The campaign offers a road theme, with Route 98 introduced as a symbolic reference to the Information Superhighway. “Windows 98 is part of the technology road. People can use it to get to different destinations,” said Kim Akers, the Redmond, Wash.-based company’s product manager for Windows 98. “Windows 98 is about enabling new hardware solutions for customers.”
The ads target Windows 95 users, outlining how the upgrade helps enhance the capabilities of existing hardware. Microsoft is partnering with several computer hardware marketers, including Kodak, Logitech and Hewlett-Packard.
“The ads focus on key benefit areas: performance, reliability and computer opportunities,” Akers said. Print ads will appear in consumer magazines and consumer-friendly specialty titles. Online ads will appear on major Internet search engines and popular consumer Web sites.
The campaign will run through September. –with Tobi Elki