TEST:Microsoft Touts Tablet Software

McCann-Erickson here is unveiling a global print campaign for Microsoft’s new Windows XP Tablet PC Edition software, which enables users to engage in pen-based rather than keyboard-based computing.

The domestic portion of the campaign, breaking this week, includes full page ads on four consecutive pages in publications such as Time, BusinessWeek, Newsweek and The New York Times. Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., spends roughly $350 million annually on ads; spending on this launch was not disclosed.

Windows XP Tablet PC Edition software was released last week. Tablet computers loaded with the software cost more than $2,000.

“We are always dealing with new technology in our business, but this is one of those products that people look at and think is amazing,” said Michael McLaren, evp and global account director on Microsoft at McCann S.F. “Most people who use a laptop use pen and paper for notes. The beauty of the Tablet is that you have everything you need on your PC but it can also be used as a pen and paper. … You can take notes and the computer will convert it to text.”

The ads stress the simplicity of the system. The first page shows a child writing on a blackboard and reads, “Chalk to board.” The second says, “Pencil to paper,” and shows a hand holding a pencil and writing musical notes. The third page has an Asian man painting on a white canvas. Text reads, “Brush to canvas.” The final page shows a tablet PC and text that describes the Windows XP software. The ad says the software offers “the full power of a PC, the freedom of pen and paper.”

“We’re trying to say that this is as easy as sitting down and writing or painting … that it has the full power of a PC and the flexibility of pen and paper,” McLaren said.

There will be no TV ads, said McLaren. The launch campaign will run through the holidays. A separate yearlong campaign is expected to break in early 2003.