Microsoft Ad-Centre Launch

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Having attended another search engine relaunch earlier this year, it could explain why I got the Van Halen song “Panama” stuck in my head. Now “The Bootleg Saint” by the Sam Roberts band is there. Yes, Mr. Roberts and his band were in the house last Tuesday at the Muzik Nightclub at Exhibition Place in Toronto. It was part of the big promotion for the launch of the new Microsoft Ad-Centre search engine platform.

The event? It was very impressive. Naturally, it is easy to say that Microsoft has oodles of cash so they can afford to throw a good event. True. But having lots of money to spend does not necessarily imply having good taste. And trust me, I get just as irritated as anyone else when Windows seizes up on me for no apparent reason. But getting to the point, Microsoft threw one good event from start to finish. From the start of the event, invitees were asked to register online at this great site and provide their information and advise if they planned to attend and if they needed a limo to pick them up and drop them off.

I really liked this not because I enjoy limo rides (ok I do) but because it’s a professional thing to do and also mitigates risk when you are serving alcohol to customers, vendors and suppliers. After all who needs another lawsuit? I also have to say that Microsoft seems to get blogging and how important it is. Why do I say that? They invited (prior to the event) all of the contributors at One Degree and the Canadian Marketing Blog to attend. I was already attending as an advertiser but it showed me that they get it. Not because some bloggers get invited to a party but they understand the power of blogging and the impact it could have on their customers. I would argue that some bloggers have just as much influence as certain respected journalists.

Upon arrival at the event, there was quite the assembly of staff and the check-in process was pretty flawless. Air Canada could learn a thing or two. Folks congregated over drinks and hors d’oeuvres before the presentations. Speaking of which, it was a very nice touch of labeling the trays of food that the waiters were carrying. So you know what you are eating even if it’s too noisy to speak. I got to meet recent friends and others I had not see since my university days. Talk about kicking it old school!

The presentations were pretty good, especially when Blake Irving (Corporate Vice-President, Windows Live Platform) got up and spelled out exactly why Microsoft was investing in the search engine arena. They stand to make a lot of money. End of story. To me that is rather refreshing instead of being given some public relations drivel about ‘making the world a better place’ which is tempting to do when you are a large power-house such as Microsoft. There were also many comments in the peanut-gallery about how folks appreciated having chairs to sit on during the presentations and being able to drink at the same time. The presentation were a bit long but it was worth the price of admission.

The food and conversation afterwards was great and the Sam Roberts band was the cherry on the sundae. Having done some event marketing in another life, I appreciated how much hard work went into the event. Hats of to the Microsoft team. Now let’s see how the Ad-Centre platform performs. Like anything else at the end of the day the results will speak for themselves. However, as I’ve stated before the more competition in this space the better it is. Google is still the leader of the pack but with Yahoo! and Microsoft in the mix, the race has certainly gotten more interesting…

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