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Open Letter to Microsoft Marketing: If You Want Your Campaign to Be Viral, You MUST Make It Portable!

Dear Microsoft …

Your new campaign for the Microsoft Home Server is pretty cute.  You have put a lot of resources into it – shooting some funny videos, creating a slideshow of a kid’s book "Mommy, Why is There a Server in the House?" and essentially turning home servers into an "issue" that America needs to discuss.

As a geek, I think it’s snappy, funny and smart. (Aside from the fact that the Daddy installs the server – but I won’t address that here).

But, why don’t you want me to share it with my friends?  I can’t embed the video here.  I can’t embed the kid’s book here.  All I can do is give my friends the link and encourage them to click through.

Why wouldn’t you want to let me embed all the great content you created?  See, a virus actually needs a host cell.  One Degree is ready to be a host cell for your content.  Your "Tell a Friend" is so passé!  Give me a delicious link, a digg link, a post to Facebook link.  Something.  Something that shares your content AND accrues the credit to me for sharing.

Because that’s the secret to viral, Microsoft.  Give me the credit for the find.  Help me build my reputation by sharing interesting stuff with my friends.

So, please free up your great content.  I know you have some really smart programmers working there.  I’ll bet they could make an embed link for those videos lickety-split.


Kate Trgovac

p.s. my friend Dave from Dave’s Whiteboard should actually get the credit for this find


  1. Sulemaan
    Sulemaan March 3, 2008

    Oh Snap! Oh no you DIDN’t Kate! (Or actually Dave…)
    In all seriousness, very good article and something for any marketer to consider when doing a campaign.
    Lest we become the latest example on 1 Degree. Perish the thought.

  2. Kate Trgovac
    Kate Trgovac March 3, 2008

    Oh, Sulemaan … We can all learn from each other 🙂

  3. Connie Crosby
    Connie Crosby March 4, 2008

    That’s easy for you to say in your turtleneck sweater, wrinkle-free pants and boots!
    Hmmm…somehow I don’t think they are interested in this crazy fad called “social media” that makes messages viral. Otherwise they wouldn’t be making servers for the home instead of promoting web-based applications now, would they? 😉

  4. Gillian
    Gillian March 4, 2008

    Interesting. We spend so much effort driving traffic to our clients’ websites but social media could change that. Does it really matter where someone experiences a company’s content? Especially if taking it outside of the traditional website means that it reaches more people than it would have otherwise.

  5. Kate Trgovac
    Kate Trgovac March 4, 2008

    @Connie … interesting point. Sharing isn’t perceived as a Microsoft strong point. Though, I did just get a Zune (TED schwag) and it has wifi-enabled music sharing. Very cool and sexy.
    @Gillian … in my mind, that is exactly it! While the destination site is still important because companies need to have a “home” on the internet – both their content (especially content that is designed to engage) as well as content users create on their behalf (think something like a photo or video contest) needs to be portable. It’s the beauty of the network effect. Syndication vs destination. Now, that does get trickier to measure! We posted about how to measure in Web 2.0 here – but we still have a lot of thinking and hard work to do in this area!

  6. Salima Valji
    Salima Valji March 5, 2008

    As a marketer at Microsoft – I want to let you know that we are listening! Within your feedback there is a positive message – that you enjoyed the Home Server content enough that you wanted to share it!
    This campaign was actually executed in the US so I can’t comment on what their strategies were, or the reasons why they choose not to promote content portability. But I did forward your posting along to the campaign owner and will allow them the opportunity to respond if they choose.
    As for Microsoft’s belief in Social Media – we definitely believe in it and you will start to see us using it more and more…. Stay tuned, I may even write about one instance soon!

  7. Sean Howard
    Sean Howard March 5, 2008

    Hey Kate,
    Loved the post AND the campaign. Crazy that they spend that much money and then fight it spreading.
    What would really upset me (beyond a big corporate entity not wanting to “share” a campaign) is when the agencies involved in creating the content don’t fight and educate the client on the benefits of enabling portability for the campaign components.

  8. Kate Trgovac
    Kate Trgovac March 6, 2008

    @Salima … thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment! Always great to know when companies are listening! And yes – absolutely a positive message in the feedback! The content is really fun and interesting; it deserves to go viral through every channel possible. And we’d be delighted to have you write something for us about social media and Microsoft!
    @Sean … Excellent point! There is absolutely some culpability on the part of agencies to bring those best practices to their clients. Thank you!

  9. Dave Ferguson
    Dave Ferguson March 22, 2008

    Did you know that if you look for Mommy, Why is There a Server on Amazon, you find reviews?

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