Monday, June 1, 2009

Microsoft Moves To Bridge Digital Divide Between Agencies, Clients, and Everyone Else

I recently attend Microsoft's Digital Showcase (May 28, 2009) at their Chicago office located in the AON Center. Walker Sands Communications, apparently handling PR for the event, reached out to me as a blogger and an agency representative.

The event was well executed and the message was clear: Microsoft is banking on digital and traditional campaign integration to drive the future of advertising, and they want to be the platform through which integration takes place.

My question, and the question I have asked myself over the past year, is Microsoft innovative enough to pull it off?

Let's examine the pitch:

Microsoft wants your clients to be on three screens: home television delivered via Xbox Live and traditional broadcast outlets, mobile platforms via WAP enabled websites, and - of course - the computer screen via web video, websites, and other interactive elements.

As an agency, you design and deliver the creative elements while Microsoft delivers the back end platform to drive your ads across the three screens.

I think this is a great approach, and I enjoyed seeing the "three screens" presentation play out in person, but was left wanting more. There was little talk of integrating platforms outside of the Microsoft realm, and the "three screens" approach still felt divided. The links between the platforms were not salient enough - how does the Xbox Live experience integrate with WAP, web, and broadcast? Not an easy question to answer, but the first space I look to when discussing digital innovation.

On the other hand, I'm glad to see Microsoft is taking a serious approach to innovation, and there is no question that substantial R&D budget has been allocated to developing these programs. Kudos to the team at MS for providing a well rounded presentation. I would have liked to have seen less discussion surrounding digital campaigns executed by push and more discussion around sticky pull campaigns leveraging the principles of social media/networking.

Microsoft Digital Showcase: Connect with Video
May 28, 2009 Chicago


Seth Dallaire
, Senior Director, US Sales, Microsoft Advertising
Jay Sampson, Senior Director, Microsoft Advertising Emerging Media Sales
Mark Marvel, Senior Director of Video Monetization, MSNBC
John Staley, Director of Advertising Sales, Central Region, NBC Broadcast & Cable News
Laura Hagen, Senior Director of Integrated Sales,
Don Reilley, National Sales Manager, Entertainment & Devices Division, Microsoft
Mike Siegenthaler, Director, US Branded Entertainment & Experiences Team, Microsoft

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