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Wine bolsters microsoft’s marketing

September 18, 2007

The news of Microsoft’s new vintage made its way onto the pages of the Financial Times, not a new operating system, but some wine it had ordered from a South African winery.

Although it sounds as if the Redmond giant is diversifying into arenas, it knows nothing about; instead, the branded wine is rather a smart move.

For the last couple of years, fellow marketing blogger Hugh McLeod has been doing the web PR for a South African winery called Stormhoek. To get the wine talked about Hugh has hosted blogger dinners and this is where the connection to Microsoft came from.

Storkhoek created the wine for Microsoft called it Blue Monster, gave it a tagline “change the world or go home”. The wine isn’t sold to the public and is only available to employees and at Microsoft hosted events.

For a while, Microsoft has struggled to find a right way to pitch itself in many of its corporate efforts. Many times the efforts appear disconnected. A real problem for big companies trying to use television commercials with some sensitivity, there’s always a danger of appearing overblown.

The wine is the perfect antidote.

Here’s why.

1.    It shows they are connected to the world of conversations that are happening through blogs- Hugh is somewhat legendary to the blog wonks in the know.

2.    It’s an unusual tactic, it has talk value because it’s not something you would expect the company to do.

3.    It’s got a sense of humor- The Blue Monster is fun

4.    It’s got desirability-employees and others will want the wine.

Although the top brass has sanctioned this, it didn’t come from them and its all the better for it.

I don’t believe the wine was pre-tested.

Posted by Ed Cotton

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