New TV Mini Series uses Microsoft Tag

The television channel, Starz, has launched an advertising campaign to promote a new 8-part mini series, which is based on Ken Follett’s “The Pillars of the Earth.” In the two-page ad found in Entertainment Weekly, a Microsoft Tag is displayed. Scanning the Tag brings the reader to a trailer for the series, which is fully explained in the copy along side the Tag.

I have seen full-page versions of this ad in The New York Times and other publications, but there was no Tag displayed. Why? From what I can tell, there was more than enough real estate in these others ads to display a Tag, so why wouldn’t Starz want to reach as broad of an audience as possible and allow them to interact with a Tag and show them the trailer? I can understand testing and research may be happening in the background, but even so. Anyone care to guess or comment?

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6 thoughts on “New TV Mini Series uses Microsoft Tag

  1. Best guess? Microsoft paid for part/all of the Entertainment Weekly ad.

    Who buys Entertainment Weekly? Who does Microsoft appear to be targeting to get their Reader downloaded and build up a User Base?

    Plus, someone reading the NYT is not in the same mindset as someone flipping through EW. Different readership, different intention with Ad. Plus, who pays for what?

    Clearly, Microsoft have a well planned campaign underway to saturate certain market segments and establish their Tag as a de facto “standard.” Hitting magazines targeted to women, over the Summer months, is brilliant. I'd written off MS Tags as dead this year. I was wrong.

  2. Yes, the readership is different between the two publications, but I would assume NYT readers use smart phones and have an interest in mobile apps.

    Would still like to speak with you offline to learn the perspective from which you write. I have a hard time believing that Microsoft is paying anyone and everyone to display their Tags. Some, maybe, but for every campaign?

  3. NYT readers may have the capability and technical assets – but, do they have the interest in the content itself? Whereas EW readers (women) may seek more information about the television show because it appeals to them?

    i.e. Just because I can launch a Tag, will I? No. The appeal is the content, not the Tag.

    I really don't know to what degree Microsoft are coining-in. But, we are seeing an abundance of Microsoft Tags, all concentrated on one demographic, in some high profile and expensive campaigns this month. This could not have occurred at random. It's a concerted effort. Logic says Microsoft is behind it.

    Not to be rude, but, I can't believe that anyone would pay for those campaigns and use Microsoft Tags?!? Therefore, I've made the assumption that Microsoft are going all-out, during the summer months, to try and get their Reader on as many phones as they can and establish themselves (in one target demographic) as a “standard.” And, it takes money to do that.

    Why else would any leading Brand use a MS Tag if MS Tag wasn't making a huge gesture in return (at this point in time)? It doesn't make sense. And from Microsoft's POV, it's got to be a do-or-die scenario right now, yes? Better to burn through marketing dollars now and make a play for relevance or risk being left behind.

    Up until last week, I'd considered deleting my MS Tag reader app. No more.

  4. Anonymous, thank you for the comment. Yes, it is all about the content (i.e., the mini series), but if Starz believes that the NYT's demo matches with the series enough to advertise in the first place then why not display a Tag.

  5. @roger, your logic is correct, but, let's say, for a moment, my theory is right, Microsoft are paying for the media buys where their Tags are in order to get more Reader downloads and establish themselves in the public market?

    And, Microsoft are exclusively targeting Females 25-40, affluent, likely with smart phones.

    Starz runs the NYT ad (very expensive, not narrow-targeted) and not National. Starz asks Microsoft to coin-in, Microsoft declines (presuming their Campaign dollars are allocated to fulfill certain mandates), the Tag isn't included.

    Starz may or may not really care about the Tag – they just like someone else coining-in on their media buy? If Starz cared about the Tag, and were paying for it, would they use Microsoft?

    We'll never really know about any of this, but, it's fun to speculate.

  6. I agree with much of what you say…it's makes a great deal of sense…and I am not arguing the point or taking a side. Unfortunately most companies that are creating 2D campaigns are keeping the metrics close to the vest and, as you say, we will never know. Too bad, because the way I see it, a rising tide lifts all ships. Again thank you for adding to the discussion. I enjoy your insight.

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