Microsoft Launches $150 Million Ad Campaign for MSN

Microsoft Corp. on Monday kicked off what it says is its largest consumer advertising campaign ever, a $150 million push for MSN that uses a new logo for the network, a multi-colored butterfly meant to symbolize freedom.

The ad campaign launches with a series of television sports created by McCann Erickson/A&L that plays off a dramatic situation popularized by MTV‘s “Real World”. In the spots, four strangers are challenged to live together in a house where they perform their everyday tasks through MSN.

The characters do everything from shop for furniture to sharing photos with family and friends. By showing people of different backgrounds and ages, MSN hopes to reach audience members with varying levels of Internet experience.

“The new ad campaign delivers a fresh perspective on what people can do with the Web every day using MSN,” says Brad Chase, vice president in the consumer group at Microsoft.

The spots will run on major broadcast and cable networks across a variety of time segments and on shows such as “Frazier,” “Law & Order,” “Now and Again,” NBA basketball and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” The print campaign will run in magazines including Time, Newsweek, US News & World Report, New York Magazine and Entertainment Weekly, as well as for the next two weeks in national newspapers such as The New York Times, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.

The campaign also marks the re-launch of the MSN Web site, and the debut of a new logo for MSN, a multi-colored butterfly. The logo uses the yellow, orange, blue and green colors common to Microsoft’s other brands.

“We wanted a logo that is unique among the major Internet brands, that fits with the Microsoft brand, and that captures the spirit and imagination of what Microsoft’s software, content and services can do to empower people’s everyday lives,” says Yusuf Mehdi, director of marketing for the Consumer Group at Microsoft.

“The MSN butterfly icon and cleaner, simpler font that accompanies it are meant to capture the imagination and freedom that people should feel from using MSN.”

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