SUPERIOR, Wis., Oct. 14, 2002 — Drawing on the name of this Midwestern city, Microsoft Corp. today launched a $300 million U.S. marketing campaign for MSN® 8, an Internet service with superior communications, browsing and online safety controls.
"We are investing $300 million to communicate with people about MSN 8 because we want consumers to know that finally there is a better alternative to the status quo when it comes to Internet services," said Yusuf Mehdi, vice president for MSN. "We believe when consumers compare MSN 8 with their existing service, MSN will win, hands down, because it allows consumers to communicate better, protect their family better and browse better than ever."
Today's scheduled event in Superior, Wis., and the simultaneous unveiling of a massive billboard in New York City's Times Square will begin the countdown to the Oct. 24 launch of MSN 8 in the United States and build on the consumer momentum for MSN, which today announced that its total monthly subscriptions reached 9 million in September.
The "it's better with the butterfly" campaign, which runs through mid-2003, is the largest ever for MSN. Built around the MSN butterfly logo, the campaign demonstrates to consumers how Microsoft has used innovative technology to meet consumer demand for a better Internet service, something a majority of Americans want. According to a recent Harris Interactive Poll, three out of four Americans are not impressed with their current online service provider.*
"We are kicking off our campaign in Superior today to let consumers know that we've heard their complaints about other Internet services and that we're confident MSN 8 is superior to any other Internet service on the market," said Bob Visse, director of MSN marketing at Microsoft. "MSN 8 gives consumers a reason to be enthusiastic about the promise of the Internet. Now people can expect less unwanted e-mail, more effective parental controls and a better overall browsing experience."
The marketing campaign includes broadcast, print, radio and online advertisements that show a rainbow assortment of MSN butterfly characters demonstrating how MSN 8 resolves the biggest Internet frustrations for consumers.
The ads will begin appearing nationwide Oct. 24. They were directed by Phil Joanou, who among other things directed the sitcom "3rd Rock from the Sun." Developed by McCann-Erickson/San Francisco, the ads present powerful messages in a light-hearted tone, showing the butterfly characters helping consumers reduce the flow of spam and more easily get involved in the online lives of their children. Other ads highlight additional features built into MSN 8 to address the desire of consumers to more easily communicate with friends and family via instant messaging, create vibrant e-mail messages with photos and other personalized touches, and experience a new level of personalization with their Internet experience.
In addition, Microsoft will launch its largest-ever online advertising push Oct. 24. The five-day online blitz for MSN 8, developed by interactive advertising agency Avenue A Inc., is designed to reach more than 90 percent of the available and active Internet audience.
Rocker Lenny Kravitz's hit single "Fly Away" from the Virgin Records album "Lenny Kravitz Greatest Hits" will be the featured song in the MSN 8 advertising spots. The Grammy® award-winning artist will also perform a live private concert during the MSN 8 launch event, scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 24, in New York City's Central Park. In addition to the advertising campaign, other marketing activities will include direct mail, online and channel programs as well as exciting new programs to be announced at launch.
The Oct. 24 launch will signal the debut of MSN 8 in the United States, with availability in other parts of the world in the coming months.
MSN has 9 million subscriptions and attracts more than 300 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 34 markets and 18 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering Web services to consumers and digital marketing solutions to businesses worldwide. The most useful and innovative online service today, MSN brings consumers everything they need from the Web to make the most of their time online. MSN is located on the Web at http://www.msn.com/. MSN worldwide sites are located at http://www.msn.com/worldwide.ashx .
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT" ) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software -- any time, any place and on any device.
* Harris Interactive® Poll, conducted Sept. 26 to Oct. 2, 2002, of 3,021 online interviews among a representative sample of Internet service provider subscribers using the Harris Panel Online database of respondents.
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