Microsoft’s Windows Phone campaign is good to go

Microsoft has launched the consumer-facing mobile campaign in partnership with Future Shop, MuchMusic, Samsung and Mitsubishi.

Microsoft is stepping up its game in the mobile arena with a rebranded mobile product and a multi-brand partnership to promote it.

Looking to leverage its high saturation in the PC market by extending the brand more forcefully into the mobile sphere, the tech co has launched a multi-platform battle to capture two distinct smartphone customers: young people 16 to 24 and their parents.

Previously, phones running Microsoft’s mobile OS were referred to as Windows Mobile Devices. The product is now called Windows Phone and will be tied into the OEM product description (i.e. the Samsung Omnia II Windows Phone).

The rebranding project came to life last week with the debut of two partnership initiatives, handled by Wunderman and M2 Universal, aimed at each target market. The Future Shop ‘Good to Go for Windows Phone’ campaign is designed to reach parents, as they are likely already familiar with the product, Alec Taylor, director, mobile communications business, Microsoft Canada, told MiC. If an adult comes in looking for a smartphone and tells sales staff they use a Windows PC, they’ll be directed to a Windows Phone.

The push will be supported with in-store branding, advertising, flyer promo and POS with OEM partners (in this case, Samsung). Microsoft has also created an app store, Marketplace for Mobile, and three-app packages are included with Windows Phones to make it easy to get in on the app frenzy.

The second campaign, aimed at teens, is being executed in partnership with MuchMusic. Microsoft created a MuchOnDemand app for Windows Phones so people can follow MOD voting and interactivity on their phones. The app is being promoted on Much’s site and on MOD where the VJs will talk about it. The partnership will also involve a contest that includes a grand prize of a Mitsubishi Lancer, another partner in the campaign. The campaign is also being promoted with an online media buy that includes

Selecting the right partners was key to positioning Windows Phones successfully in a crowded marketplace, Taylor said.

‘What we really want to do is we want to, in terms of brand affiliation, we want to associate our brand with brands that resonate well with the audiences we’re going after,’ he explained. ‘The other thing we want to do is position our products with channel partnerships [where] Microsoft has significant presence.

‘When I think about telco channels, I think Canada is RIM-ified if you go into a Rogers, a Bell or a Telus,’ he added. ‘Whereas if you go to Future Shop or Best Buy, you’ve got XBox in the gaming aisle, you’ve got Windows in the PC aisle, you’ve got Office, you’ve got all these Microsoft assets in place with national retailers. So it made sense to position the Windows Phone there in a big way.’

The MuchMusic campaign runs until the end of 2009, and the Future Shop campaign runs through until March 2010.