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Launching Microsoft Advertising

to the Ad Industry


Microsoft Advertising


When MSN/Sympatico parted ways a few years ago, the new name of Microsoft Advertising was born as the global brand for Microsoft digital advertising. Bing is only one component of this online engine that includes a full range of digital marketing solutions; Microsoft Advertising’s challenge was that their brand was not resonating with their audience, media buyers and agency creatives in the advertising industry. Kaleidoscope was brought in to grow their brand awareness by developing an industry event that would become THE event that the industry clamoured to attend. The goal was to get 300 – 500 RSVPs for the first year, growing it to 1000 attendees over the next few years. At the same time, they were interested in increasing their database of industry contacts.



The strategy was to focus primarily on English Canada, specifically Toronto as the city holds the lion share of business opportunity for Microsoft Advertising, and then also create or co-partner in a smaller scale for French Canada. Traditionally, the ad industry had a history of having ``over the top`` parties to increase relations and awareness from their clients and supplier partners. Over the past 10 or so years, the industry parties have become more restrained. Kaleidoscope knew that for Microsoft to host the industry party of the year it was going to have to be impressive, surprising and authentic to attract the somewhat jaded ad industry. The goal was to build an event over multiple years that would showcase Microsoft Advertising as committed to the industry and a key partner in the digital journey. We created the retro theme of the agency parties of the 70s and 80s and developed all materials to reflect this theme. We secured Danny Masterson (of That `70s Show) to DJ, knowing this would be a draw.


Kaleidoscope managed all aspects of the event including décor, menu, negotiations, registration and ticket management, food and beverage and entertainment.


We chose Maison as it was close to downtown, new and hip – a draw to agency and media people and closely located to their offices. We were able to secure this venue spearheading an unveiling opportunity grand opening only 2 weeks before our event. The venue held 900 which we felt gave us lots of room for entertainment, décor and food stations.


Kaleidoscope conceived a theme “Everything old is new again”. All elements from the invitation, website, RSVP, décor, food, entertainment, and giveaways were based on this consistent theme. We created both hard copy and electronic invitations. We sent street dancers to create a stir and deliver personalized invitations to influencers in the largest media agencies in Toronto. Leveraging Kaleidoscopes contacts with marketing associations, we provided HTML invites to each association to send out to their membership.

Sponsorship and Charitable Donation Strategies:

Kaleidoscope came to the table with strategies, connections and a plan to help Microsoft Advertising strengthen their name through association and sponsorship relations. We brought NABS (National Advertising Benevolent Society) in as their selected charity of choice as it relates to the industry.


Leveraging our propriety RSVP process, Kaleidoscope also made personal calls to agency presidents to personally invite them. An electronic RSVP system captured all data and enabled guests to download the confirmation to their mobile phones.


In keeping with the theme, we had old ads rotating on a giant screen and Canadian Ad Trivia cards scattered around the room. Heavy black glasses and glow bracelets were handed out to all guests and all wait staff also wore them. A specialty ice bar was created that included embedded computer games for the 80s, `Mad` magazines and cassette tapes of old bands and movies were placed throughout the venue.
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Along with Danny Masterson, we had a local DJ who had a large following the club community, brought in the winner of America’s best Dance Crew, Poreotics, to perform. In addition, we arranged for a spontaneous Flash Mob, painted models serving martinis, Longboard artists creating art onsite and a storyteller capturing all the activity on a 15’ mural.

Food and Beverage:

Food was a combination of passed and food stations, designed to be served strategically throughout the evening. We had easy to eat, high carb finger foods to ensure guests had a good base for drinking, a candy station that included familiar favourites like Nerds and lips. A mixologist created dry ice cocktails

Public Relations:

We worked closely with Microsoft Advertising’s PR firm to help get media exposure.

End-to-End Logistics:

Kaleidoscope and client held weekly meetings that outlined budget, strategies, tactics, responsibility, next steps etc. All steps in the process were outlined in great detail, including the registration process, VIP strategy, floor plan and walkthrough, presenters’ notes, executive and sales team briefing etc.


Over 850 people attended the event on November 10th, 2010 – a 22% drop off rate compared to an industry average of 50 – 60% for this type of event. Industry response to this event was outstanding with over 1,100 people RSVP’ing to the party; in fact we had to close registration in order to keep within the venue regulations. This exceeded expectations as the maximum expected goal was 500 guests. The client was very pleased and was able to build a case to the executives for additional funds in an organized and timely manner. The Microsoft Advertising logo and brand exposure skyrocketed into every large media and agency firm at all levels with these firms within the Toronto market. Feedback on the industry party was that this was “The Best of the Best”. Revenue was generated that evening with deals completed on the dance–floor that equated to 40% of the overall spend of the event – in the months to follow, additional contracts were signed, leading to a very strong ROI.