For anyone who has wondered what Bill Gates is really like, it will
probably come as no surprise to hear him described as ’a normal sort of
guy, but with a brain the size of a planet’. So says Neil Thompson,
relationship marketing group manager for Microsoft, and speaking to him
you get the impression he’s not short of the old grey matter himself.
With Microsoft’s communications under his charge, he intends to
spearhead the IT brand into a new creative era.
The latest business-to-business print campaign, by Euro RSCG Wnek
Gosper, offers a taste of what is to come. It depicts human faces that
have been morphed into animal features with headlines such as ’Evolution
will make us wiser’. The work uses animal attributes to represent how
companies must evolve to survive.
As well as acknowledging that the technology market is moving at an
exponential rate, the campaign shows that Microsoft is taking a more
consumer-oriented approach to its brand, recognising that people are
increasingly making decisions on an emotional level. Thompson says: ’If
we’re going to create an emotional quality for the brand, we’ve got to
look and feel different.’
Through Microsoft’s campaigns, he wants to bring more depth to the brand
in a market sector that has been slow to recognise the change.
’Microsoft is now in lots of different markets and environments,’ he
says. ’We have to evolve and adapt ourselves across the vast array of
He is hoping this approach to advertising will help Microsoft standout
in the burgeoning IT market.
’Microsoft evokes opinion as a brand,’ he says. Thompson wants to use
advertising to capitalise on the company’s high awareness in order to
’make sure people are associating the brand with the right
Historically, Microsoft’s problem has been spending a lot of money,
which, by his own admission, has been too fragmented to be effective.
’We have to do a better job with the media we’re using.’ He adds: ’But
with media options expanding daily, we’ll be able to look at, and use,
an increasing amount of communications.’
The man from Microsoft, who joined the company four years ago from Stena
Line, clearly has grand plans. Yet he’s got no intention of losing the
MSN ’Where do you want to go today?’ strapline, ’because it typifies
what Microsoft is all about - endless possibilities’.
He believes he will have hit the jackpot in carving out a new
positioning when he gets ’a slightly surprised, but positive reaction’
to the advertising.
’I’m always looking for new, different ways to explore the brand,’ he
says. ’We push Euro RSCG hard for innovation because of the brand we
are.’ You get the impression Euro RSCG will be kept on its toes this