Microsoft ads aim to erase 'huge' image
Software maker's campaign to cost $120 million
Saturday, January 21, 2006
By REBECCA BARR
Microsoft Corp., the world's biggest software maker, will spend $120 million a year on an advertising campaign to fight its image as "a huge American company."
The campaign, using television, print and the Internet, highlights Microsoft's education and economic development projects in 32 countries, including France and Taiwan, according to group advertising manager Mike Lucero. Actor William Macy of the movie "Fargo" narrates the ads.
"We are often perceived as a huge American company," Lucero said Friday in an interview.
"We wanted to be very specific about what we are doing in each country in education, innovation, economic opportunity and security," he said.
The campaign, being run by McCann Erickson, a unit of Interpublic Group of Cos., is an extension of Microsoft's "Realizing Potential" advertisements that started in 2002.
"That was a global campaign in the traditional sense, with half a dozen ads pretty much the same in different countries," Lucero said. "We had to get very local."
The ads have started to air in some U.S. regions and will appear in all target markets in coming weeks, with advertisements for the Olympic Winter Games, the Academy Awards and TV shows including "24," "ER" and "The West Wing."
Redmond-based Microsoft made almost one-third of its $39.8 billion in fiscal 2005 revenue outside of the United States, according to a company filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The company's 63,000 employees are based in 102 countries, 37 percent of them outside of the United States.
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