ASK A POLITICIAN by UM for Microsoft

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Industry Software & Multimedia Productions, SaaS
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market Australia
Agency UM
Released May 2009

Credits & Description

Category: Best Localisation Campaign
Advertiser: MICROSOFT
Product/Service: MICROSOFT
Date of First Appearance: May 1 2009 12:00AM
Entrant Company: UM, Sydney, AUSTRALIA
Entry URL:
Client Services Manager: Andrew Davis
Investment Manager: Andrew Murray
Account Manager: Maura Tuohy
Media Buyer: Kerry Jones
Account Executive: Michelle Lin
Account Director: Mark Tsen (McCann Erickson)
Account Manager: Simone Gur (McCann Erickson)
Integrated Communications Manager: Catherine Vissiere (Microsoft)
Director Corporate Affairs: John Galligan (Microsoft)
Digital Producer: Andrew Kakos (Microsoft)
Media placement: Event - Venue in Canberra - 01/05/2009
Media placement: Microsite - Online - 01/05/2009
Media placement: Online advertising - Political blogs and websites - 01/05/2009
Media placement: Interactive Outdoor - Shopping malls - 01/05/2009

Results and Effectiveness
Microsoft demonstrated its value to the Australian government by using its technology to bring politicians and voters together. Up to 1 in 10 Australians engaged with the hub. Politicians were grateful that Microsoft had not only educated them on social media but had handed them a new medium. All participating politicians sent positive feedback. Twenty non-participating politicians approached Microsoft about involvement in future initiatives. The hub caught the attention of the Government Information Management Office who contacted Microsoft directly to applaud the initiative. This department fosters the efficient use of information/communications technology for a critical yet difficult to engage audience.

Creative Execution
The campaign commenced with a social media ‘education’ workshop which key politicians were invited to. Given Obama’s success in this space we had a full house. The “Ask a Pollie” hub was introduced in this forum and an online panel of politicians was selected to take part. Now that we had engaged politicians, we needed to focus our efforts on the public. To get critical mass, we needed to take the hub to the people rather than expecting them to come to us. For the ‘politically lazy’, we made it easy for them to take part by installing specially designed touch-screen billboards situated in local shopping malls. The content was dynamically uploaded to the hub and forwarded to the politicians for response. We tackled the more politically proactive public when they were searching on political blogs or researching political parties with digital display advertising enticing them to the hub.

Insights, Strategy & the Idea
Australia places restrictions on global companies in order to protect local interests. Big monopolies such as Microsoft are deemed destructive to local business growth. Growth for global companies such as Microsoft is grossly impaired by these restrictions. In short, Microsoft needed to get the Australian government on their side. A traditional advertising campaign would not cut it. Being in the business of ‘spin’ themselves, politicians tune out from advertising. Whilst they don’t listen to advertising, they do listen to the public. Our idea: Use the voting public to engage them. The public were never going to be ‘friends’ with politicians, but they sure as hell were interested in understanding and debating the issues that affected their country and their lives with them. Out of this inspiration, a social media hub named “Ask a Pollie” was born. Microsoft’s social media technology was the ideal means for bringing voter and politician together.