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Microsoft Goes Viral with the Help of Brickfish – Part One

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This is the first part of a three-part series about Microsoft and Brickfish teaming up to get the "I’m a PC" campaign all across the Internet. This part focuses mainly on the campaign itself and on the nature of how Brickfish scores a viral medium. The additional two parts will be interviews, one with the CEO of Brickfish talking about their previous and current campaigns as well as how they run the system. The other interview will be with Microsoft's Group Marketing Manager for Digital Marketing (what a mouthful), focusing on this specific campaign, and the probable campaigns in the future, as well as what Microsoft is doing to recapture the college market.

Breaking News 

Brickfish, the social media advertising network, joined up in early December with Microsoft to promote a new advertising campaign as part of Microsoft’s "Life Without Walls" overall campaign. The two companies combined to offer an online competition, mainly geared at college-aged Windows users, but accessible to any age. The contest is designed to show cases the individuality of each Windows user. The campaign calls for each person to submit either a picture or a video (preferably one created using a Web cam) and a statement as to why “I’m a PC.” The four winners will be receiving at least a new laptop, along with various other items. For more information about the campaign please visit their Web site where you can look at the official rules, the prizes, and the already-submitted competition.

Microsoft’s Goal

In a time when Microsoft’s biggest rival Apple is making gains in market share with college students, and the long-time free OS Linux is slowly grabbing more people (thanks in part to a growing netbook trend), Microsoft is attempting to recapture their once-dominated market. For years, Apple has been casting Windows as the operating system of corporate-stiffs and of the conforming masses. Microsoft has finally decided to strike back.  As Marty Collins, Microsoft Group Marketing Manager for Windows, puts it, "'I’m a PC’ is about celebrating the individuality within the global Windows community and the pride we all have in our own unique passions — and how technology can help us further these interests."

The battle for the college-age demographic is now under way, with both sides putting out their best attacks.  

Microsoft is using the "Life Without Walls" campaign to show that Windows is not only essential in every household and business, but fun and easy to use, too. This competition is designed to showcase that every user is different, and that they all use Windows for a different reason. Combine this with the recent Mojave Experiment, which showed the useful (for parents) controls in Windows Vista and also showed how easy it was to use, and you have a killer combo. Frankly, I believe that these two campaigns should help revitalize Windows; I feel that the campaigns will fulfill their purposes and show that Windows is actually a fun, and diverse, operating system. I mean, who better to sell something than your friend, your co-worker, or the girl next door?

How Brickfish Works

Brickfish is a company that specializes in viral advertising campaigns. For all of their contests, they measure how successful a specific entry is by looking at its virtual imprint and thus can tell how far it has spread. By allowing participants to create personalized content they get much better and much more creative advertising than you could get otherwise. Participants then upload their content to social networks on widgets (or Applications for Facebook), IM it to their friends, e-mail it to mom and dad, and blog about it. Other participants can review, vote, and share (it is still linked to you) your product as well. The winners of the contests usually are the people who had the most viral submission.

While they cannot specifically share how they calculate the viralness of a specific entry (due to Patents, or something like that), they did share this much with me:

"When they use the Brickfish 'Post to Websites' tool we are able to track the location as well as resulting engagement with the entry from around the Web…. Several factors are considered in the Viral ranking . The number of sites an entry is posted to, the number of unique viewers of the entry, and the number of people who have shared the entry are just a few of the factors included in the calculation."

In other words, the more linked to and the more talked about your submission is, the more likely you are to win the contest. This encourages people to spread their entries like wildfire and to get their families and friends to do the same. Thus, the brand is quickly advertised throughout the Internet, sold by each and every person who entered the contest. This powerful viral marketing vehicle generates extensive brand awareness, engagement, reach, and results.

Please check back in the near future to read parts two and three of this series!

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About Robert M. Barga

  • Brickfish here. Thanks for your question. We usually see our members getting excited about their entries and wanting to share with their friends what they have put so much effort into creating. We haven’t heard about any issues with members spamming others.

  • Hey, I can not answer that myself but sent the question to my contact over at Brickfish and am hoping they will answer. I will include that question in my interview
    please let me know any other questions you wish to have answered during either interview

  • How does Brickfish differentiate between sharing amongst friends and families and those that spam online communities?