Microsoft has a long history of highs and lows when it comes to advertising. From the early days of Steve Ballmer selling the first commercial version of Windows complete with calculator and a clock to Bill Gates hanging out with Jerry Seinfeld in an odd attempt at appealing to fans of his long-ended television series, Microsoft has seen quite a few headlines as a result of its efforts.
More recently, Microsoft has taken to adding dubstep music and dancing to its advertisements, largely letting the products speak for themselves. This is just one component of a greater strategy to bring the Microsoft Surface and Windows 8 to public consciousness. What we’re talking about today is the extensive use of paid product placements in popular television shows in order to raise brand awareness in a way that isn’t so obvious to the user.
It’s an age of DVR players where viewers fast forward through commercials and paid product placements are becoming all the rage among advertisers hoping to keep a grasp on the public without abandoning their most lucrative platforms. Even reruns of old shows are being digitally edited with modern products appearing in the background. I know, it’s strange.
The question before you is whether or not Microsoft’s paid product placements are actually working. I’ll admit that after seeing Richard Castle consult his Windows Phone for information on the latest murder suspect, I was intrigued. It certainly had me thinking more about the Windows Phone throughout the rest of the show. It was in the back of my mind, and Microsoft is spending big money in a bet that it’ll be in yours, too.
Here are just some of Microsoft’s latest product placement advertisements on network television over the past two years.
If that isn’t enough, the motion picture Paranormal Activity 4 features the Xbox Connect prominently as part of the plot. You can see its infrared dot pattern throughout the trailer below.
Is this sort of product placement effective in making you think about a company’s offerings? Or do you have a mind of steel that resists such cheap tactics of manipulation?