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Microsoft plans biggest Windows XP ad campaign

Wednesday April 20, 2005

Microsoft plans biggest Windows XP ad campaign

SEATTLE: Microsoft Corp is mounting one of its biggest advertising campaigns for the Windows XP operating system and will use the effort to promote personal-interest software on topics such as cooking, sports, music and astronomy.  

The 15-month “Start Something” campaign began on Monday with television spots on the Fox network’s “24” and ads in magazines, including Newsweek, Sports Illustrated and Wired, said Scott Lennard, director of advertising in Microsoft’s marketing group.  

Microsoft wants to boost interest in the four-year-old Windows XP to keep sales up as it begins rolling out test versions of the next update, code-named Longhorn, later this year in anticipation of a late 2006 launch. Microsoft has forecast growth in Windows for PCs to drop by almost 50% this year.  

The ads feature people using computers to pursue hobbies and interests, with animated graphics related to those interests flowing from a window-frame located over the person’s heart, said Lennard, who wouldn’t disclose how much Microsoft is spending.  

The spots will advertise a redesigned Windows.com Web page that lists different interests that can be indulged using Windows and related programmes from Microsoft and its partners.  

Clicking on links for travel or photography brings up programmes that run with Windows and that users can research and buy from the Web site.  

Sales of Windows for PCs are expected to rise 6% this year, down from an 11% gain last year, Microsoft forecast in January.  

Many of Microsoft’s business customers in the US and Western Europe already use the latest Windows XP. Meanwhile, PC shipments are growing faster in emerging markets such as China, Russia and Venezuela where software is often pirated.  

Some Windows customers have no interest in upgrading from older versions of Windows.  

Only 40% of the market uses Windows XP, according to Rick Sherlund, an analyst at Goldman, Sachs & Co. in New York.  

The ads, which will run in 11 countries, were designed by Interpublic Group of Cos’ McCann-Erickson WorldGroup. – Bloomberg 

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