Universal McCann client Microsoft and Channel 4 are targeting last minute Christmas shoppers by converting the ad breaks within two peak-time shows into mini stories promoting the functionality of Microsoft's new Windows Phone 7. The ad break storylines also incorporate narrative links to ads for other brands including Sainsbury's, Xbox, Boots, The Co-op, Ferrero Rocher, Confused.com, Coty and Southern Comfort.
The Windows Phone 7 campaign will be the 5th and 6th in a series of ad breaks by Microsoft, Universal McCann, Duke & Earl and Channel 4; the last two being World Cup themed ad breaks that won a Campaign award this year for media innovation.
This innovative campaign sees Windows Phone 7 and integrated search engine Bing take over two ad breaks across two peak-time Christmas shows; Jamie's Best Ever Christmas which airs at 9.00 PM on 21st December and Come Dine With Me which airs at 9.00 PM on 22nd December. Each programme is expected to attract around three million viewers.
Using the strapline "Bing it this Christmas with your Windows Phone 7", the ad breaks within each show feature a storyline about a man and a woman in the throes of a Christmas emergency such as forgetting the in-laws are coming for Christmas. As the shows cut to the first break, viewers are invited to "stay tuned to see how Bing and Windows Phone 7 help save Christmas".
Each subsequent break features the shoppers using their Windows Phone 7 including the Bing search engine, to help solve a different aspect of the nightmare such as tracking down and getting directions to the nearest Sainsbury's to buy a turkey, or researching fun for all the family (such as the Xbox Kinect Sports). As the shoppers type Sainsbury's or Kinect Sports into the Bing search engine on their Windows Phone 7, the break cuts to the ad for that brand. The final ad break in each programme shows the Windows Phone 7 with the Bing home page and then spins to show the phone's home page including an Orange app clearly visible.
The themed ad break supports the "makes life easier" positioning for the Windows Phone 7.
Paul Davies, Director of Marketing Communications, Microsoft says: "This break innovation is a unique platform to help us to communicate to our audience in a way that will cut-through during the busy Christmas period. We have taken the award-winning formula of placing relevant advertising stings between the ads, but have given it a Christmas twist. We have also developed the concept by showing two of our most cutting edge products - Bing & Windows Phone - working seamlessly in tandem, within a story telling construct that hasn't been done before."
Channel 4 Strategic Sales Manager David Amodio says: "At Channel 4 we are always looking to push the boundaries of the conventional ad break in order to deliver maximum value to viewers and advertisers. The Windows Phone 7/Bing storyline creates a special ad break for viewers, while the narrative link between the Microsoft ad and the other featured brands makes for a more engaging advertising environment. It's great working with such a brave client and forward thinking media agency, both UM and Microsoft are always full of ideas and keen to do things differently.
Media Strategy for the Windows Phone 7 carried out by Universal McCann. Creative was by Duke and Earl. Other advertisers - sourced by Channel 4 as being a good fit with the campaign's narrative theme - were The Co-operative, Confused.com, Coty, Ferrero Rocher and Southern Comfort.