CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK: Microsoft promoted the European launch of its Xbox console with games and ad previews on a dedicated web site, writes Mark Sweney

Background: Microsoft wanted to build awareness of the 14 March pan-European launch of its Xbox games console, as it prepared to take on market leader Sony PlayStation 2.

Aim of campaign: Using the strapline 'Play More', the campaign aimed to promote the Xbox brand among gamers and to a wider demographic as a lifestyle product. The campaign launched across 16 European countries and pre-empted an offline push that kicked-off in mid-February.

Online executions: Xbox struck a range of pan-European online deals with sports, music, games and entertainment web sites including MSN, and Vivendi Universal-owned music download web site network Europe. The hub of the campaign was Xbox's official web site,, which was designed by Xbox's advertising agency, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, and creative agency Dare Digital. The site hosted previews of TV ads, exclusive viral film clips, screensavers and about 25 games, such as Stationery Olympics, to create a community around the brand and build a database of email addresses. Two viral video clips were used for online and interactive TV executions. Based on Xbox's two TV ads, 'Champagne' showed a person's life from birth to grave using the strapline 'Life is short, play more', while 'Mosquito' used the strapline 'Suck less, play more'. Each ad was available online before being launched on TV. Tangozebra's Overlayz ad format was used to promote specific Xbox titles, such as its flagship title Halo, a first-person shoot-em-up game, while expandable banners pushed the console itself. Europe ran phased activity across 13 European countries and promoted the console in its fortnightly email newsletter to three million consumers. Activity on included an Xbox tie-up with record label Universal Music International for a new music video by DJ Shadow. Sponsorship activity appeared on MSN's Instant Messenger service throughout Europe.

Other digital executions: As well as the web, interactive TV ads created by Bartle Bogle Hegarty ran on Sky digital and selected Flextech channels, including lads' channel Bravo. The brand also sponsored two of Sky's most popular games on gaming channel Gamestar. Selected iTV ads featured a link to Electronics Boutique's site to buy the Xbox. "Interactive TV is growing substantially and the 16- to 26-year-old male audience we are targeting are early adopters and likely to use these services, so running the ads made sense,

says Richard Teversham, head of Xbox games marketing for UK and Ireland.

Offline media: As well as the web and iTV activity, media used in the campaign included cinema, print, street stickers and postcards. Point-of-sale material and about 7,000 Xbox demo machines were placed in retail stores across Europe.

Results: has so far attracted more than 120,000 registered users and in excess of 800,000 unique users. The web site has received about 15 million page views and 700,000 downloads of the 'Champagne' TV ad.


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