MSN Launches $150 Million Ad Campaign

Microsoft Corp. Wednesday kicked off a $150 million global campaign promoting its MSN portal and the new version of its MSN Explorer browser.

The campaign is unabashedly geared at making the MSN network “the No. 1 global Internet brand,” according to the company.

Of course, this means having to hop over the reigning Internet brands of America Online and Yahoo. AOL this week took the wraps off a major service and technology overhaul.

But MSN’s marketers are confident in its campaign — the company’s largest since it launched Windows 95.

“We believe the campaign will appeal to users of all skill levels and will position MSN as their home on the Web,” said Microsoft vice president of marketing Yusuf Mehdi. “It will inspire and enable them to get the Internet experience they are looking for.”

McCann-Erickson’s San Francisco office, which grew out of MSN agency Anderson & Lembke, designed the campaign’s print and outdoor creatives and two television spots.

The first TV spot, “Butterfly,” break Wednesday and plays on the MSN logo — a butterfly colored similarly to Microsoft’s Windows operating system’s logo. It features a remake of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Homeward Bound.” TV spots will run in North American, Asian and European markets.

“The campaign aims to showcase MSN as the place on the Web where the Internet and technology can become not only an indispensable tool but a natural part of consumers’ daily lives,” Mehdi said.

Microsoft also rolled out other announcements Wednesday, including a new browser and an enhance search engine with “local human intelligence” — similar to content portal About.com’s system.

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