Noteworthy Effort for Microsoft’s Tablet PC Software

SAN FRANCISCO An integrated print and online campaign launches today that touts the ability of Microsoft’s Windows XP Tablet PC Edition software to accommodate handwritten notes.

Created by McCann-Erickson, Universal McCann Interactive and MRM Gould, all in San Francisco, the campaign follows a global print push that announced the product in November.

The new print component will have four different spread and gatefold ads in publications including Time, Newsweek, Vanity Fair and Forbes. The series features images of people taking notes on tablecloths in a restaurant or on the palm of their hands at a meeting. “Be ready. Always and anywhere” is among the messages. The tagline: “It’s a laptop. It’s a simple pad and pen. It’s a tablet PC.”

“We envisioned a series of scenarios where people are able to capture their ideas no matter where they are or what they are up to,” said Michael McLaren, evp and director of client services at McCann S.F. “They’re juxtaposed against this image of what you’re able to do with the power of the Tablet PC.”

The online ads will roadblock popular portal home pages of The New York Times, and CBS MarketWatch, among others, with a full-page interstitial that simulates the pen-based abilities of the Tablet software. Copy on one ad states, “The future is here,” followed by an image of the Tablet. It then switches to the portal’s home page as simulated handwriting appears across the screen saying, “Wish come true,” with arrows pointing to the Microsoft banners. Four unique interstitials and six banners comprise the online campaign.

“It’s really exciting and a breakthrough kickoff on the Web with these home page takeovers,” said Brian Monahan, vp, interactive media director for UMI.

The ads will run through June. Campaign spending was not disclosed. Microsoft spends about $350 million annually on ads, according to CMR.

The advertisements are targeted at mobile information workers and the integrated approach aims to reach them at different parts of their day. “For a number of the publications, including The New York Times and Forbes, we’re doing both a print and online buy,” said Monahan.

“We’re using the media to full advantage … to romance the product features in environments where people are looking for information,” said McLaren.

Tablet PCs loaded with the Microsoft software cost upwards of $2,000. With their ability to convert handwritten notes to text as well as take advantage of voice, mouse and keyboard inputs, the Tablets are considered an evolutionary change in the notebook computer environment. However, Gartner Group’s Dataquest division predicts that adoption is coming slowly and the Tablets will only account for 1.2 percent of worldwide notebook shipments in 2003.