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Microsoft $500MM B2B Ad Campaign an anti-IBM Assault

Microsoft yesterday broke a $500 million marketing campaign aimed at corporate customers of its new products and intended to drive business away from rival IBM, reports the New York Times. The assault comes as Microsoft prepares to introduce a series of products, including Windows Vista and Office 2007, in the second half of the year. Though aimed at business decision makers, the campaign uses the phrase "people-ready software" to describe its new products. Microsoft's ad agency is McCann Worldgroup in San Francisco, a unit of Interpublic Group's McCann Erickson.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled the campaign in an address to some 500 business customers at Microsoft's and the Executive Council of New York's Executive Business Forum Thursday, writes BtoB Online. The campaign broke with an eight-page insert in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times; TV advertising breaks next Thursday during the NCAA basketball tournament.

The campaign will also include out-of-home and digital ads, including rich media advertising and paid search. The $500 million does not include advertising for upcoming product launches, such as that of Vista, which will be supported with separate budgets.

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