The aim was threefold: to take market share from digital competitors; to drive the digital market by competing against or partnering with offline media; and to become "One Microsoft Advertising". This last goal meant combining all of Microsoft's advertising and technology platforms, with the goal of delivering real business solutions for clients.
Over a 12-month period, Microsoft demonstrated to the judges that it reached these goals. Highlights of the year were the groundbreaking Ford Fiesta campaign, which saw Microsoft create an entire online city, hosting content from media owners such as ITV, Global Radio and News Group.
It also ran a nationwide event for Cadbury's Jive Brow - setting a world record for a live interactive broadcast in the process.
The effort to combine all of Microsoft's advertising and technology platforms paid off in campaigns for the Paramount film releases Transformers and Watchmen, which Microsoft ran across three screens simultaneously: online, on TV (via in-game advertising and Xbox) and on mobile.
The strategy let Microsoft take 100 per cent of the online ad budget of each advertiser, as well as making digital media more important in achieving each of its clients' aims.
Other advertisers which have used Microsoft technology in their marketing efforts include Seat, First Direct and NatWest. The team provided integrated business solutions in response to media briefs for all of these.
Seat built an e-magazine using Microsoft's Silverlight technology; First Direct took advantage of its surface technology, and NatWest had a webcam offer for students.
Microsoft has also gone some way to cementing its position as the trusted advisor in digital media by creating large-scale events to drive debate on topics of wide industry interest, including behavioural targeting and engagement mapping; and partnering with the Internet Advertising Bureau on its Creative Showcase. More than 2,000 people have attended Microsoft's Thought Leadership events and conferences.
Tackling Google is not for the fainthearted, but this year has seen Microsoft launch the Bing search engine, as well as take steps to get a foot in the long-form video market, signing an exclusive six-month deal with Group M to test launch the MSN Video Player.
The figures also back up Microsoft's claim to the Digital Sales Team of the Year title. In a market estimated to be down by 9 per cent year on year, revenues have been matched and market share is up by almost 2 per cent. All in all, an impressive effort in tough times.
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