Say what you want about it: We have to advertise just like any other company.
Thursday, we will be featured on NBC’s “The Apprentice” as part of our cross promotion with the show to establish awareness of LiveMeeting & Live Communications Server solutions. Dustin Grosse and Janice Kapner of Microsoft’s Real Time Communications Marketing team will have cameo appearances on the show to select the episode’s winning team.
Some of you may know that a couple years ago, I considered leaving my position for another one that would have made me responsible for Microsoft’s product placement in Los Angeles Entertainment community. The idea was that our products – Smartphones, Pocket PCs, Tablet PCs, XBoxes, Windows, and other software were to be in the background… or even highlighted on prime time television shows.
For example: If you watch really carefully, you’ll notice that the Kiefer Sutherland TV hit, "24" has a tremendous amount of Microsoft technology in it. From Pocket PC’s to Tablet PCs, they seem to find ways to use MS technology in every episode. If you look at NBC’s "West Wing", you’ll see that they use Windows-based computers prominently displaying the "Start" button along with Windows Mobile PDAs and Tablet PCs around the White House. (After all – while the cast of Will & Grace might all use iMacs and iPods, what President would ever be caught using a Macintosh? <grin>)
In my travels, I’ve met the Product Placement guy for Apple incidentally – he’s EXCEPTIONALLY well paid, but lives in a little 1st floor condo in West LA. It turns out that Apple doesn’t have an internal group to do this in the same way that we do. They hire outside consultants to do the placement and the advertising and they through a lot and I mean a LOT of money at it. At last check, I heard, Apple’s placement and advertising budget was 15x the size of Microsoft’s… which is why you see all those TV commercials and billboard ads all over the place.
Well, that’s the position. I ended up not applying for it, even though the position seemed designed for me, because I’d made a commitment to my account executive that I’d stick around as long as he was on the same accounts.