Wag Ed’s Jennifer Houston Talks Windows 7 Launch Campaign, And How They Kept Apple From Hijacking It

This post was written by Nancy Lazarus, contributor to PRNewser.

At the Advertising Age Digital conference in New York on Wednesday, Jennifer Houston, SVP and global lead of WE Studio D at Waggener Edstrom described how Microsoft brought the launch of Windows 7 to consumers worldwide through the Saks Fifth Avenue holiday window displays.

She detailed how the selection of partners and the preparation of a competitive response plan were keys to making the campaign effective.

“Our goal was to transform Windows 7 from the desktop to a real world experience,” she explained.

“We wanted to forge a direct connection to consumers and had the idea of engaging them by bringing Windows 7 to Saks and making it part of the holidays. We built a kiosk inside the main floor and invited people to share their holiday experiences via twitter. Their wishes were then streamed outside on Windows 7 based PCs in the store’s window display.”

Houston said the program’s partners were a good fit, since “Saks is an iconic brand in terms of holiday shopping and is a center of gravity globally as it generates high traffic and excitement. Twitter was the perfect platform to drive the right level of engagement.”

One potential issue developed along the way, but was averted due to advance preparation and having a response plan ready. Houston said, “Apple became worried and wanted to get Mac-related quotes on the twitter stream. However, the Windows 7 team had anticipated that possibility and had already built a sophisticated filtering system that prevented any such messages from getting through.”

Overalll the campaign aimed to extend the Windows 7 experience beyond the launch and tie in with the broader launch theme of ‘My PC.’ The effort produced thousands of page views (62,129), Facebook fans (1282), downloads (317,365) and tweets (623,000), thereby becoming a global platform for holiday greetings.