The MSN Butterfly Is Back to Kick Off The New MSN Multimedia Marketing Campaign — And Now It Has Something to Say

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 30, 2003 — The MSN®
network of Internet services today announced that the colorful star of the “It’s better with the Butterfly” campaign will make an encore appearance with the launching of the new version of MSN. The new MSN, due to be released Jan. 8, 2004, spurs the Butterfly character to speak for the first time, setting off a yearlong U.S. advertising and marketing campaign that includes print, television and online media.

And what exactly will the newly lingual lepidopteran say when it breaks its silence? To find out, consumers will have to tune in when ads begin appearing as the new MSN takes flight, featuring rich information services, advanced communication tools and comprehensive security solutions. The campaign seeks to inform people, especially those with high-speed broadband connections, about the benefits of the new MSN and entice them to experience the value that these services can add to their online activities. Consumers can take a sneak peek at several sample spots at the MSN ad campaign preview site, http://new.msn.com/press/ .

“The Butterfly resonates with consumers as fun, friendly and approachable, and it’s quickly become the personification of MSN,” said Richard Bray, vice president of MSN North America at Microsoft Corp. “The ads portray the Butterfly as a resource that’s an integral part of the family, much as we see the next version of MSN becoming an integrated part of consumers’ everyday lives.”

Starting Dec. 31, people can preview many of the advanced features that will be part of the new MSN by clicking on a banner on the MSN home page announcing that the new MSN will be arriving Jan. 8. During the first few days of this promotion, visitors will see the MSN butterfly flitting around the home page and then landing on the link to the preview site. From there, visitors will enter a minisite featuring highlights of the new MSN home page as well as other new services.

Bringing the Butterfly to Life

McCann-Erickson Worldwide Advertising, the San Francisco-based ad agency that created the initial butterfly theme for last year’s launch of MSN 8, also gets credit for bringing back a livelier version of the butterfly character this time around.

The agency developed a series of clever spots and humorous print ads for the current MSN campaign to showcase MSN as a world of answers ready to be tapped. McCann-Erickson also introduced new creative elements and treatments that will be incorporated throughout the full scope of advertising and marketing efforts.

“This campaign brings to life a wide range of everyday scenarios that people can truly relate to — scenarios in which MSN can help people do more things online than they ever thought possible,” said Michael McLaren, executive vice president and director of client services at McCann-Erickson San Francisco. “As we continue to extend and develop the MSN Butterfly, we are building a lasting and memorable brand identity that people relate to and believe in. It’s better with the Butterfly.”

Ad Campaign Strategy and Highlights

The new wave of MSN Butterfly characters will communicate the benefits of MSN products and services in print, on the Web and on television with the goal of reaching a diverse and targeted consumer audience. Advertising efforts will include the release of four new print ads, as well as billboard advertising in Las Vegas during the week of the 2004 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The campaign also features a significant amount of new online advertising that consumers can see on MSN and other partner sites. For instance, MSN has home-page takeover ads on numerous select sites and has made significant ad purchases on several other sites

An exciting new ad format altogether is presented in the five additional 15-second spots that will be seen online via the new MSN Video, a free streaming video service. The television campaign will feature five new 30-second television spots and 10 new 15-second television spots. To increase consumer awareness of the MSN brand, the ad campaign also encompasses added-value programs with television networks — a first for MSN. Among other activities, MSN will sponsor shows, series and program episodes on highly trafficked cable networks.

Marketing of the New MSN

Interactive advertising agency Avenue A, an operating unit of aQuantive Inc., also has once again partnered with MSN on a variety of online promotional efforts designed to give MSN a significant voice through key broadband-oriented Web sites in the days leading up to the launch of the new MSN premium Web services. Weather.com, one of the 15 most-visited Web properties, is displaying the MSN banner in the header on its popular home page; this represents one of the most robust and prominent integrations of an advertiser’s message into the site’s content. At launch, MSN will be the premier advertiser on the home pages of several highly trafficked Web sites that are especially popular with broadband users, including About, CNET and washingtonpost.com. Digital marketing efforts include home-page “roadblocks” and an extensive voice across partner sites. Avenue A, aligning with offline advertising efforts, also is leveraging the 15-second TV spots across select broadband-centric Web sites, including AtomFilms, Shockwave.com and IFILM, among others.

“The sophistication of today’s digital marketing landscape offers an array of innovative ways to reach consumers online. MSN is pushing the envelope with its ad elements and media mix, while at the same time focusing on delivering the right message to the right audience,” said Della Quimby, account director of Avenue A. “In our latest online effort, we’re focused more than ever on reaching today’s broadband audience. The new MSN is a compelling new product for this high-speed enthusiast.”

About MSN

MSN attracts more than 350 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 38 markets and 18 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering Web services to consumers and ad sales to businesses worldwide. MSN 8 is the first Internet software product to have earned the trusted Good Housekeeping Seal. The most useful and innovative online service today, MSN brings consumers everything they need from the Web to make the most of their time online. MSN is located on the Web at http://www.msn.com/ . MSN worldwide sites are located at h http://www.msn.com/worldwide.ashx .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft and MSN are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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