LAS VEGAS — In the broadband era, you can push your product on the kids through “experiential marketing,” Microsoft’s President of Entertainment and Devices Division Robert Bach said in his keynote speech to end day two at Microsoft’s Mix07 conference here for Web designers and developers.
Flanked by his own image projected onto movie-theater-sized screens, Bach told the audience that for marketing to be “experiential,” it needed to take advantage of the Internet to be “personal, interactive and social.”
To do so, Bach said marketers need look no further than Microsoft’s entertainment verticals — communications, video, gaming and music — because Microsoft’s devices and software enable users to access content “whenever and wherever on whatever device.”
Bach then introduced a series of guests who proceeded to demonstrate how, together with Microsoft, their companies managed to push their products on those hard-to-reach 14 to 34 year-olds.
Steve Kerho, director of media and interactive marketing at Nissan North America, demonstrated for the crowd how his company partnered with Microsoft to insert interactive ads into National Geographic programs served on demand over Microsoft’s Media Center. Kerho said the ads were interactive because users could choose different videos featuring a Nissan product.
Following that came Edward Kummer, a senior vice president for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Online. Kummer said his company marketed Disneyland Hong Kong to China by paying Chinese computer manufactures to pre-install a Disney “gadget” onto customer computers loaded with Microsoft Vista. This pre-installed application plays videos and audio and delivers coupons.
An executive producer from the BBC, Jason DaPonte, took the stage to talk about how his company is using Microsoft Silverlight to get where the teenagers are “native.” As part of an initiative called BBC 2.0, BBC 1 Radio is pushing an audio and video application through instant messenger clients.
Between stage guests, Bach introduced two video demonstrations of experiential marketing in action. One featured Burger King Xbox video games, 3.2 million copies of which sold in six weeks, according to Bach. The other showed how Microsoft marketed a video game by allowing users to create mash-ups of its TV commercial.
After Bach and his guests left the stage, Gayle Troberman, Microsoft general manager of World Wide Branded Entertainment, followed with a panel including marketing executives.
“Is marketing dead?” Troberman asked the panel.
“I hope not,” said Carol Kruse, group director of interactive marketing at Coca-Cola. “Otherwise, we’re all out of a job.”