A Winning Formula: The Official Launch of Windows 8

January 30, 2013 by  
Filed under Case studies, Microsoft, Technology

Challenge:  Building on the wave of interest and anticipation from Windows 8 Consumer Preview, the PR team was tasked to deliver a high impact, broad-reaching publicity campaign to amplify the local Windows 8 story.

Windows 8 heralded a huge brand shift for Microsoft, of which the PR campaign needed to emulate. The approach needed focus on people not product, stories over messages and product engagement over sales in order to help audiences emotionally connect with the experience that Windows 8 offers.

Strategy:  With an audience spread across the entire gamete of media – from technology to consumer lifestyle and everything in between, the PR team developed an educational approach that would deliver targeted information, purely relevant to each segment before culminating in the official launch event.

In September, a series of 10 one-on-one briefings were held with the most influential people across technology media in order to ensure a well-grounded level of knowledge and understanding of the Windows 8 story in the lead up to launch.

Following this, in October five consumer lifestyle mini-events were hosted at the Ivy Penthouse. The events saw the presence of 26 key media from Australia’s highest circulating consumer glossy magazines, providing these media with a first look and touch of the new operating system.

The third phase of activity offered our influencers the opportunity to ‘touch and try’ Windows 8 through the seeing 10 RTM Samsung Slate 7 devices.

Results:  All of this activity culminated in the official Windows 8 Australia launch on the 26th October 2012.

Launch day kicked off early with three pieces of solid coverage across breakfast TV which highlighted the availability of Windows 8 and Surface in Australia. The PR team worked with key morning reporters to educate them on the new product features so they could speak as ‘experts’ on Windows 8.

The tone of the coverage was very positive, with many broadcast articles positioning the Windows 8 launch as Microsoft striking back against other tablet competitors – to quote Sunrise host Andrew O’Keefe commenting “The Empire strikes back,”. News of the availability and Harvey Norman’s Midnight Madness stunt echoed across the daily news cycle and wells as the availability of devices and the different SKUs available locally.

The Australian media event commenced at 9:30 AM and saw the attendance of over 110 media from an extensive array of consumer lifestyle, broadcast, news, consumer tech and more. Media guests included the likes of Channel 7, Channel 9, SBS World News, ABC Radio National, ABC News 24, 6PR, Better Homes and Gardens, Rolling Stone, Men’s Health, The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Daily Telegraph…etc.

Key results include:

  • 1457 pieces of local coverage in the first 14 days post launch
  • 246 hours of broadcast coverage
  • 110+ media attended the launch event


Imagine Cup Microsoft

December 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Case studies, Microsoft, Technology

Challenge: Student technology competitions, such as the Imagine Cup, have traditionally appealed to a narrow audience. Howorth was challenged with taking the Imagine Cup to the masses. Mainstream media coverage that told stories for the everyday Australian which generated conversations, and told the Microsoft innovation story around four key event milestones: the local finals, the Road to Sydney, the 2012 World Wide Finals, and the APAC BizSpark Entrepreneur Summit.

Strategy: Howorth focused on strategic storytelling across broadcast and key national print media. To ensure understanding of the key messages, we brought the story to life using the student’s journey and their projects to showcase the innovative solutions they have devised to solve real-world issues, and positioning the students as tomorrow’s Bill Gates or innovators.

Results: Results included high impact and broad stories on the Imagine Cup. Telling the Imagine Cup story through broadcast outlets and the student projects helped us showcase the global nature of the competition and brought media on the journey. Out of the 75 unique pieces of coverage for the World Wide Finals, 72 clips mentioned Microsoft and were in-line with corporate key messages for the competition.

Microsoft Surface Launch

To mark the commercial availability of Microsoft Surface, Ogilvy PR’s technology public relations agency Howorth worked with Microsoft Australia to host a media launch event to showcase the features of this innovative new hardware device at their Australian headquarters in Sydney on Tuesday, 9 February 2010. Surface is a new multi-touch product, developed as a software and hardware combination technology. The device allows a user, or multiple users, to manipulate digital content by the use of gesture recognition.

The launch produced fantastic results for Microsoft, with 32 key media and analysts attending the public relations event including The Australian, SMH.com.au and CNET. Following the launch, over 40 pieces of coverage were published across a variety of online, print and broadcast outlets, including key metropolitan, consumer, technology and business media targets. Stand out pieces following launch included a five minute, live-to-air interview on Sky Business News’ Tech Report and a live demonstration of Surface on Channel 9’s TODAY program. The show’s technology editor, Charlie Brown, and host Karl Stefanovic demonstrated the Surface product and discussed its potential commercial uses.

Howorth’s primary PR role was to drive awareness across broadcast, consumer and IT media to strengthen Microsoft’s profile as an innovator and leader in the technology field, as well as to promote Microsoft Surface as a desirable and game-changing product to potential partners and customers. The results of Howorth’s PR strategy helped generate an extremely positive buzz around the launch event. The coverage that appeared in the days following positioned Microsoft as an innovative company and highlighted the collaborative and inventive features of Microsoft’s new Surface unit.

Following the launch, Microsoft Australia Developer Evangelist, Michael Kordahi praised Howorth’s efforts by saying, “Howorth deserve some major credit for delivering a successful launch. They not only delivered, they delivered with the highest of standards and passion. Despite the very aggressive timeframe of the launch, they provided a-class service.”