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Oregon Agency Handles Rollout of Microsoft Windows 95 Ads

August 18, 1995

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ The Microsoft Windows 95 advertising campaign is about to begin to the tune of ``Start Me Up″ by the Rolling Stones.

Wieden & Kennedy, the Portland ad agency that swept Michael Jordan into his flying Nike Inc. shoes, has tabbed Mick Jagger to sing the theme song for Bill Gates’ newest generation of personal computer software.

The television ad campaign will begin Thursday with the release of Windows 95. The commercials will appear in the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Australia, with print ads set to run in more than 20 countries.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., plans an announcement today.

Microsoft is paying Jagger and the Stones millions of dollars for the rights to the song _ one British tabloid said up to $12 million _ as part of an overall $200 million advertising budget for 1995.

``We approached the Stones, and there was a lot of instant synergy between them and Microsoft,″ said Jim Ward, who heads the Microsoft account for Wieden & Kennedy.

The Portland agency was hired last year to handle much of Microsoft’s advertising, and has been preparing the campaign blitz for months. The theme is centered around the ``Start″ button that Windows 95 places at the bottom of computer screens to launch all its programs.

``Coming out of the strategy of using the `Start’ button as a symbol, it seemed a no-brainer concept to use the Stones’ song to generate some excitement,″ Ward said.

The 30- and 60-second TV ads will feature vignettes of people using Windows 95 on their personal computers as the Stones sing in the background, with quick flashes of the new features built into the software.

The operating system introduces a ``plug and play″ feature that will allow computers users to quickly attach peripheral devices such as printers and scanners and follow a few simple instructions to make them work.

The software also increases the range of multimedia and ``multitasking″ options _ allowing a computer to blend video and music, for example, while performing other chores, such as sending a fax or downloading files from the Internet.

Bob Herbold, chief operating officer at Microsoft, said ad campaign shows that Windows 95 helps turn computers into the simple home appliance and entertainment center envisioned by Gates, Microsoft’s founder and chairman.

``We hope to further our message that personal computers can take you where you want to go,″ Herbold said.

The company chose Wieden & Kennedy to send that message after the agency pitched the notion that the Windows 95 ``Start″ button symbolizes the whole new generation of faster, smarter programs and computers.

It is one of the simple ideas that helped the agency bill $450 million in 1994, pushing it from No. 82 nationally to one of the top 25 U.S. agencies listed by Advertising Age, the industry bible.

The growth has paralleled that of the firm’s largest and oldest client, Nike Inc., the international athletic shoe and clothing maker based in suburban Beaverton.

Clients such as Microsoft and Coca-Cola have hired Wieden & Kennedy to help mold their image in the same way the firm has created a corporate personality for Nike.

``A lot of the new organizations, the Nikes and the Microsofts of the world, are less hierarchical, with more open structures, and they look for agencies with similar structures or cultures,″ said Dave Stewart, a marketing professor at the University of Southern California.

Industry observers say regional ad agencies such as Wieden & Kennedy probably will benefit in a market being shaped by a consumer move away from network TV and into the computers that link the information superhighway.

``It’s a move toward decentralization in every aspect,″ said Roland Rust, a marketing professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.

The changes are boosting business for firms such as the Advertising Agency Register, which pairs clients with agencies.

Leslie Winthrop, president of the firm’s North American office in New York, says the industry is going through its biggest changes since the late 1970s, when dependence on single agencies began to break down.

``We’d been sitting there 10 years and all of a sudden our time has come,″ Winthrop said. ``We haven’t changed what we’ve offered since 1980, and our numbers have gone through the roof, starting in ’91.″

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