June 10, 2006
Willy Gates Gets His Funk On With Product Naming
What do you do when everyone knows you’re a geek? You try to make some cool friends, of course.
No, Gates hasn’t changed the corporate culture at Microsoft or started wearing turtlenecks and cargo pants. Instead, he’s discovered that he can supply the demand for tech-based outlets for brand name building — and they’re trying to get very cool brands to come join the fun. We’re talking cultivating partnerships with MTV, Def Jam, NBA superstar LeBron James and even the Dixie Chicks.
Microsoft has discovered that the Windows brand, thanks to the new products offered in Windows Live, is kind of cool. In fact, Microsoft has found that the Windows brand name is cooler than Microsoft’s.
It’s a common enough occurrence in product naming, when a company not only promotes its best product name heavily — it renames itself around it (3Com’s popular Palm Pilot instantly comes to mind, a product that launched the emancipation of Palm Computing). Often enough, one way cool product name can change the whole perception of a company (iPod springs to mind, frankly).
But Microsoft isn’t changing its company name to Windows just yet. It’s just inviting everyone over to see just how cool it is. It's like the biggest geek on the block suddenly deciding to share his neato toy — instant popularity.
The Dixie Chicks want to embed their own MSN writer on their tour, and Microsoft will be offering virtual tours of LeBron James' “King for Kids Bike-A-Thon.” They’ve purchased an in-video game advertising company called Massive and rolled out some cool indy production companies that can promote their stuff via, you guessed it, Windows Live.
Microsoft has even become pals with Hip Hop mogul Jay-Z, who, at an MSN sponsored dinner recently, toasted his new homeboy “Willy Gates.”
I’m not trading in my Mac just yet.
Brand Entertainment is a growing brand marketing phenomenon. For more on this subject, please go to:
- 1stapproach blog post on Jeff Greenfield, Branded Entertainment Expert.
- Marketing Blurb
- BigBrain Boy
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