Microsoft seeks agency for $50m assignment

NEW YORK - Microsoft has briefed four agencies to pitch for a creative assignment estimated to be worth $50m (£24m).

Microsoft's lead agency, McCann Erickson in San Francisco, will be pitching along with WPP Group's JWT in New York, Publicis Groupe's Fallon in Minneapolis and MDC Partners' Crispin Porter & Bogusky in Miami, according to US reports.

The agencies are expected to pitch next month for the consumer-related creative assignment, and a decision is expected in January.

A Microsoft spokesman said: "We are soliciting input from various agencies, including McCann Erickson, for a new upcoming consumer-oriented assignment."

The spokesman also said that the pitch would not affect the status of McCann Erickson as lead agency and media duties for the assignment would be handled by Interpublic Group's Universal McCann, Microsoft's lead media agency.

It is believed that the purpose of the campaign is to try to help Microsoft to improve its image.

The pitch closely follows Microsoft's review for its Zune music player, which moved the business from 72andSunny to a McCann's TAG unit in San Francisco.

Microsoft's major media spending totalled $350m last year and over $200m in the first eight months of 2007, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.