Leaked Microsoft documents point to big advertising overhaul

microsoftwayMicrosoft has a new CEO and a new corporate structure, and it’s aiming to make big changes in its advertising, as well.

Documents leaked to AdWeek point to a new advertising strategy from the Redmond company, “shifting from product-specific ads to broader consumer and business-oriented campaigns,” the trade pub reports this morning.

The documents were given to agencies as part of Microsoft’s Request For Proposal (RFP) for a large portion of its advertising business. Microsoft centralized its marketing functions as part of its “One Microsoft” reorganization last year, and the company is making a similar change by moving to consolidate about 80 percent of its advertising business with one or two ad companies.

Microsoft spends about $1 billion on advertising every year, making the review the largest piece of business currently up for grabs in the ad industry, AdWeek says.

Satya Nadella, the new Microsoft CEO, last week named longtime Microsoft executive Chris Capossela as the company’s head of marketing, replacing departing executive Tami Reller, the former Windows finance and marketing chief. Capossela tells AdWeek that the goal is for consumers to “see a different kind of Microsoft than they have in the past.”

Prior to the latest management changes, Microsoft in February aired its first national Super Bowl ad campaign, focusing on inspiring people whose lives have been empowered by Microsoft technologies.

  • way2go

    More angry dancing girls?

  • Nerdy Woman

    Microsoft has always been an innovator, sometimes to their detriment. They’ve brought products to market before there was a market for them. i.e., Microsoft Reader offered a way to read eBooks before there were eBooks or eReader devices, Bill Gates introduced a Windows tablet in 2000 or 2001, and Google’s recent announcement about glucose-reading contact lenses? Microsoft Research made that announcement in 2011. Or they’ve brought superior products to market but failed to support and promote them well enough to capture market share. i.e., Microsoft Money was vastly superior to Intuit’s Quicken, but lacked the infrastructure needed to support users and was hardly promoted at all.

    Where Microsoft has always failed is in marketing. They targeted geeks, nerds, and IT administrators instead of consumers. Not surprising considering 65% of their sales are business systems, but while they were pushing servers and productivity, competitors were pushing fun, cool, hip, social cachet.

    I look forward to seeing fresh ideas from Nadella and his team, although I’m not sure choosing an insider as the CEO can affect the group-think that has always dragged down a really great company.

  • guest

    Moving away from product specific advertising to halo/over-arching brand ads? Seems like a necessary, but inefficient strategy.