Microsoft Design & Branding MICROSOFT WINDOWS PHONE 7 SHADOWBOX by Hub Strategy

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Industry Mobile phones, devices & accessories
Media Design & Branding
Market United States
Agency Hub Strategy
Creative Director Dj O'neil, Peter Judd
Designer Jen Hartford, Ben King
Released November 2010

Credits & Description

Category: Self Promotion
Advertiser: MICROSOFT
Product/Service: WINDOWS PHONE 7
Date of First Appearance: Dec 1 2010
Entrant Company: HUB STRATEGY, San Francisco, USA
Designer: Jen Hartford (Hub Strategy)
Creative Director: DJ ONeil (Hub Strategy)
Creative Director: Peter Judd (Hub Strategy)
Designer: Ben King (Hub Strategy)
Media placement: Shadow Box - 65 boxes mailed to individual bloggers - 1 December 2010

Describe the brief from the client
Microsoft was launching a totally new mobile OS (Windows Phone 7) and was enlisting a broad range of influential bloggers to help spread the word by doing a Windows Phone 7 giveaway. But these high-profile bloggers get free stuff all of the time and Microsoft was worried they might be ignored. The brief asked us to create something that would ensure the bloggers would take notice of the phone and that would help make the giveaway a success.

Describe the challenges and key objectives
We knew we could create something that would get these bloggers’ attention but the real challenge was to do it in a way that was relevant to the phone itself and to the specific interests of each blogger. This was going to call for a high level of customisation. The main objective was to get these bloggers to take notice of the Windows Phone 7. However, it was also important to us that these bloggers felt that Microsoft was clearly doing something different with this phone.

Describe how you arrived at the final design
The most unique thing about Windows Phone 7 is its “live tile” UI design. The world had not seen anything like this before as everyone was just mimicking iPhone’s UI. We used these flat, green, square “tiles” as our starting point. We knew we needed a box to hold the phone and we knew we wanted to do something very handmade as many of the most influential bloggers were in the art, design, and craft genre. This lead us to handcrafted shadowboxes. From there it was just a matter of determining how to customise each shadowbox for each blogger.

Give some indication of how successful the outcome was in the market
The shadowboxes clearly got the bloggers’ attention. A number of bloggers actually took photos of their shadowbox and posted the details (some even tweeted) about how it perfectly reflected their personal image, interests, and blog content. They all seemed quite surprised that such a piece was coming from Microsoft. The giveaway was a big success with literally hundreds of participants per blog. And, lastly, the shadowboxes were featured on several design and media blogs (not included in the giveaway) – many calling out how unexpected it was for Microsoft to do something so personal and handcrafted.