MICROSOFT WINDOWS SERVER: THE SERVER UNLEASHED

Servers aren’t sexy. They are big, hot, complicated and temperamental machines that live in the basement of your office. So how do you make Servers and Server Software cool? You turn them into a powerful, smart, sleek, “can-do-anything” robot. At the end of the day, IT guys are just guys. And guys like robots.

WINDOWS LIVE SEARCH: MS.DEWEY

Microsoft came to us and asked for a “viral” campaign to promote their new search product. How do you make something “viral”? Who the hell knows? You have to make something you think is great and hope it takes off. And this did. It doesn’t hurt to have a smart and sexy librarian serving up sassy one-liners to your search queries…

XBOX: YOU'RE IN THE MOVIES

Yes that’s Burt Reynolds. Yes, he still wears cowboy boots. Yes he’s still as badass as he was 1976. This is a campaign for an X-Box game called “You’re In The Movies”. The idea is that Burt loves the Movies so much that he wants to help you get your big break. Burt was great, but I couldn’t help wondering if he had a gun tucked under his shirt. Oh, and the first rule of wig club: don’t talk about wig club.

TIVO PREMIERE: IT'S THE ONE BOX

Everyone has a TiVo right? Wrong. Most people have a generic DVR from their cable company. So how do the guys who invented the DVR get back into the game? Make a bigger, badder, smarter box, and cram it full of innovation. Invent a box that seamlessly integrates broadcast and broadband with all of the rest of the stuff you love like home movies and music. The other guys are trying to get there (you know who you are, Apple TV), but TiVo was first. Again.

MICROSOFT VISUAL STUDIO: DEFY ALL CHALLENGES

Professional developers are just the nerds that work in the basement of your office right? Think again. They are creative problem solvers who are working hard behind the scenes to make sure all of your stuff works. They like to play video games and watch movies about space in their spare time; so it made sense to talk to them in Klingon.

VISUAL STUDIO TEAM SYSTEM: THE COACH

Everyone needs a little kick in the pants from time to time, especially professional developers who are constantly faced with tight deadlines, shrinking budgets and globally fragmented teams. Enter: “The Coach”. He’s coached championship teams, presidents, astronauts, and now he’s here for you. Imagine a Scottish Mike Ditka with a splash of Tony Robbins. Highlights include being able to send a customizable video pep talk from the Coach to your friends.

MICROSOFT AD CENTER: YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE OUT THERE

Simple little TV spots about people looking for something VERY specific. Your customers are out there, no matter how niche your product or service is. 2 of these 3 spots were finalists at Cannes. I’ll give you a hint which one came up short: the French don’t like cats or old ladies. Should have cast Jerry Lewis in the role of “grandma”…

MSN MUSIC: MEET THE MUSIC

CLIENT: “Hey John, you have tattoos. You must like music too, right?” JOHN: “Umm...” CLIENT: “We have this new thing called “MSN MUSIC”, you wanna do some ads for it?” Some things need not be asked. Highlight of this campaign was creating a video for the Times Square Jumbotron. Lowlight: stock photography

VISUAL STUDIO 2005: 400 PLUS DIFFERENCES

Developers work hard and have to face a lot of daily challenges. They face pushy Project Managers, tight deadlines, and late nights just to name a few. This campaign connects with them by capturing these quirky moments. We also created an interactive “Spot The Difference” bar-style game, which was a huge success. It’s just like being in a real bar. Well, more like at your desk, in your cube, without beer or peanuts. On second thought, it’s not like being in a bar at all.

MICROSOFT DYNAMICS: ANGELS AND DEVILS

If you tell me you know what CRM and ERP software are, I’d say you’re a liar. CRM and ERP are gnarly acronyms that stand for huge, bloated, expensive business software that no one can use. There are 2 kinds of people (those who embrace new technology, and those who fear it). Microsoft had to approach this software in a new way. It uses a familiar interface and tools to make both kinds of people happy. Even cartoon people who live on your shoulders.

NORTEL: HYPERCONNECTIVITY

Canada is only known for 2 things, and Telecommunications isn’t one of them. So how do you make noise in a category no one knows you’re in? You take a hard look at your industry and redefine it with innovation and integration (I was so tempted to write “ART DIRECTION” as the answer to that question…). It also helps to invent a cool buzzword.

VISUAL STUDIO 2008: DEFY ALL CHALLENGES TEASER CAMPAIGN

What do you do when the client says they want a teaser campaign but can’t afford one? You shake the change out of your couch, buy a Halo suit on eBay, call some friends, and get to work. These little home made spots were sprinkled all over the web to make developers say “WTF?” and generate some buzz. It worked, the blog-o-sphere exploded.

VISUAL STUDIO 2008: MAP GAME PRINT INSERT

I hear ya “Enough with the Visual Studio work already, John.” I’ve singled this one out because it was so damn cool. We created a magazine insert that folded out into a huge treasure map poster. The map doubled as a game board. It drove you to the web to download a PDF of game pieces and cards so you could print them out and play with your friends. Past + Present = Awesome.

THE ESSENTIALS: BANNER ADVERTISING

Ahhh…banner ads. The word “banner” used to be such a dirty word in the world of advertising. Then broadband hit. Now banners are like little interactive TV commercials for the web. You can serve up streaming video, play games, and create true customer interaction. You can also test messaging on the fly. Let’s see a print ad do that. I’ve done so many; here are just a few of my favorites from the past couple of years. Play the “Lizard Launch” game and see if you can go 3 for 3.