ABC Campaign Unveils PC Device

Nov 8, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Microsoft and Intel this week will launch a two-week, $10 million marketing campaign with the ABC Network and other Disney properties for a new home multimedia personal computer product called the Media Center PC.

As part of the Digital Joy campaign, viewers will be given clues in the story lines of ABC sitcoms “My Wife and Kids,” “The George Lopez Show,” “According to Jim” and “Rodney” that will enable them to enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win a new home PC. Viewers are also instructed to go to ABC.com and the network’s Enhanced TV Web site area, where they can interact and play a game called ABC Tuesday Night Treasure Hunt.

The deal, put together by ABC Unlimited, Disney’s multimedia ad sales division, also encompasses 10 Disney cable networks, ABC’s “Monday Night Football,” ESPN’s “Sunday Night Football” and ABC’s late-night “Jimmy Kimmel Show.” ABC Unlimited was able to secure the exclusive package after heated competition with other major media selling divisions, including Viacom Plus.

The new PC device works with existing television sets and can perform like a TV as well. It has digital video recorder functions and can access TV, video, Internet, music, digital photos and radio all through one remote-control device. The PC uses Microsoft’s Windows XP Media Center software and Intel’s Pentium 4 processor with HT technology.

The big TV campaign launches Nov. 8 on ABC. Meanwhile, a three-page print gatefold ad directing viewers to experience the new device at digitaljoy.com will run in Us Weekly magazine. Deutsch Inc., New York, created the television, print, online and cinema advertising.

An ABC spokeswoman said she couldn’t comment about the deal and directed questions to Microsoft.

Brad Brooks, director of Microsoft Windows Consumer Marketing, said: “ABC came up with a unique integrated package. Certainly from a standpoint of showing off how to blend [online entertainment services] with the more traditional TV concepts, Enhanced TV was a selling point. It was not the overarching, key decision-but it certainly was a intriguing and compelling piece, something that we believe is how advertising is done going forward.”

Ann Lewnes, VP of Intel’s Sales and Marketing Group, said in a release: “The significance of this campaign is that two leading technology brands have come together to create new entertainment possibilities for the PC within the digital home.”

Print ads for the campaign feature cast photos from the four ABC sitcoms, but the product is not endorsed by the actors themselves.

The marketing campaign for the home PC is a separate effort from the campaign for Microsoft’s MSN TV2 Internet and Media Player (TelevisionWeek, Oct. 4).

MSN TV2 is a set-top box device for televisions that can access digital media such as photos, music, video and e-mail through a TV set, with the goal of bringing Internet content into the family living room. MSN TV2 units are being sold through consumer electronics retailers such as Best Buy, CompUSA and Amazon.com. According to Kevin Mizuhara, senior marketing manager of MSN TV, MSN TV2 is not involved in the Disney-ABC promotion.

The two Microsoft marketing initiatives target different customers, Mr. Mizuhara said.

The new Media Center/home PC is aimed more toward advanced users of PCs, he said. MSN TV2 is intended for a dual audience-entry-level Internet users and advanced PC users looking for the ease of accessing content in the comfort of their living rooms.

That’s why MSN TV2’s marketing campaign, Mr. Mizuhara said, is called “The Comfort Zone.” “It’s where you really are supposed to be watching videos and listening to music,” he said.