Tarana Khan

Of rugged bikers and chicks: Hotmail’s new viral

Microsoft’s newest campaign for Cool Hotmail rides on a pun to bring out the ‘coolness’ of the product

As part of its online campaign for Cool Hotmail, Microsoft has launched a viral video with a pun to drive home the point. Cool Hotmail is an email service on MSN in which members can choose from over 250 domain names and create their email account with the one that suits them best.

The animated video, created by Mumbai-based digital agency Media2win, shows two rough-and-tough bikers in a dangerous race. Just as the finish line nears, one of the bikers slows down, while the other one zooms ahead and wins the race. When the winner looks back, he sees his opponent has stopped to let a few baby chicks cross the road.

Of rugged bikers and chicks: Hotmail’s new viral
The voiceover: “Love chicks? Get an email id that says so. Log on to coolhotmail.com and get an ID that reflects your personality.” The super says, ‘rocky@hitwiththechicks.com’.

Krishna Kumar, CEO of Media2win, says, “We found the ‘hitwiththechicks.com’ domain name most interesting. Though the video is energetic, we wanted the brand communication to be subtle.” Kumar adds that the viral could have easily promoted ‘hit with the chicks’ with lots of women around the man, but they wanted the video to tell a humorous story.

Of rugged bikers and chicks: Hotmail’s new viral
Microsoft has used the viral route earlier when it launched the popular Pankaj Udhas viral video to promote Microsoft Outlook. Viral videos have been used by brands to promote themselves in a whacky manner as an alternative to display advertising (like banners).

Vineet Gupta, marketing manager, Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions, says, “The product itself is viral, where people each tell other about Cool Hotmail. This was the basis of our thinking for the viral campaign. It is humorous because the feel and spirit of the product is on the lighter side.”

Microsoft has been actively promoting Cool Hotmail on the Internet through banners and e-mailers, apart from its mass campaign on television, print and outdoor. In fact, Gupta shares that the banner campaigns have achieved CTRs (click-through rates) of over 15 per cent – above average for the industry. The product is also being promoted through paid search and through text links on MSN India.

Gupta adds that the campaign also has an “impetus on trade” when brands can choose their own domain names. In fact, some of the campaigns have a larger message – to promote Internet advertising itself. These have been promoted in association with NDTV Media, which handles the sales for MSN. MSN has already signed on Lenovo as its first advertiser on Cool Hotmail.

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