Microsoft Gives RFID Bracelets to Its 3,500 Best Friends at Ad Week

Microsoft is issuing 3,500 RFID bracelets to Advertising Week attendees — part of an ongoing B2B campaign for its Microsoft Advertising brand. It’s also rolling out a new tagline for the brand: “The unified theory of advertising.”

Msa_Wristband_ A_FPOcrop.jpg The RFID (define) bracelets allow Microsoft to track where people are at Advertising Week events through RFID sensitive kiosks placed at session venues. The company then uses that foot traffic data to display “heat maps” on strategically placed plasma screens — a demonstration of its technology chops. They’ll also permit wearers to bypass lines and gain access to special seating. The accessories are reserved for Microsoft VIPs — mostly agency execs and client reps — who will find them enclosed in their registration packets.

Microsoft describes the new campaign as phase two of a branding blitz for its still young consolidated advertising brand. Phase one kicked off three months ago during the Cannes Lions international ad festival. The slogan then was “You dream it, we deliver it.”

The new slogan and campaign messaging appears today in event signage, trade advertising, and other campaign materials. It portrays Microsoft as a strategic “navigator” to digital ad buyers and suggests that while Microsoft might not be the hippest company, it’s smart and scientific — the “cool nerd” in class.

“It’s much more about the science of advertising — the digital world and how to engage with it,” said Robin Domeniconi, VP U.S. sales, Microsoft Advertising. But she added, “Everybody in this world has focused too much on technology and not enough on the audiences.”

The latter sentiment will be familiar to anyone whose followed Domeniconi’s attempts to streamline the company’s convoluted ad sales organization. It also shows the tensions in Microsoft’s branding: It must appeal universally to agency ad buyers who are sometimes shy of new technologies, even while playing up its technology credentials.

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