Bits & Bytes for September 29, 2004

Redmond Builds On “Inner Suit” Message to Mac Users

Microsoft has launched an online sweepstakes to accompany its well-received “Inner Suit” ad campaign targeting Mac users.

The original campaign urges Mac users, stereotypically creative types, to get in touch with their inner Type A personalities. A new sweepstakes lets participants register to win one of nine “alter ego” business professional action figures that are made to look just like them. Microsoft is also giving away free copies of Office 2004 for Mac.

“This product is designed to appeal to a Mac customer’s inner business suit, and the sweepstakes is an opportunity for them to meet their inner suit face to face,” said Scott Erickson, group product manager for the Macintosh business unit at Microsoft.

Additionally, registrants are urged to download a trial version of the software. Sweepstakes entries are open through December. Spending was not disclosed.

WebSideStory Makes NASDAQ Debut

Web analytics firm WebSideStory began trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange Tuesday. The shares, listed under the symbol WSSI, debuted at $8.50 and closed up 54 cents at $9.04. The company raised $42 million in the equity sale.

WebSideStory’s debut marked the conclusion of a four-year-long saga. The company had originally filed for an IPO in April 2000, finally withdrawing its registration six months later. This time, it hoped to raise as much as $57 million, but had to settle for $42 million.

The company is the latest in the interactive marketing space to go public, following Google’s much-studied debut. Others who had IPO plans, such as Brightmail and, were acquired before their offerings occurred. Still others, like Planet Out and Claria, withdrew their registrations, citing unfavorable market conditions.

MSN Ropes Top Brands for ‘Creative Connection’ Promo

MSN’s effort to engage the imaginations of top offline agency folks got a boost as several creative directors convinced their clients to participate in the “Creative Connection” program.

Kathy Delaney of Deutsch will be designing a campaign with Revlon; Ty Montague of Wieden + Kennedy New York will develop creative on behalf of Sharp; and Paul Levoie of TAXI will work with non-profit Covenant House.

The program, in which the creative directors will work with MSN’s own in-house custom solutions team, is designed to get traditional agencies thinking about how best to use online.

“The Internet really is the next frontier for marketers, providing sight, sound, motion and interactivity as fresh, dynamic ways to reach consumers,” said MSN’s Eric Hadley. “We see the Creative Connection program as a way for marketers to harness the incredible power of the online medium and redefine how audiences connect with a brand.”

The campaigns are expected to begin appearing this fall with online ads placed across the MSN network, including within the company’s new MSN Video offering.

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