Microsoft India’s new marketing initiatives, Ford Ka asks you to Go Find It and thoughts on the first Monocle Weekly

Happy New Year to all! This post is going to be a bit long, not because I’m going to recap the last year, don’t worry (!!), but because I’ve been meaning to blog for ages and didn’t get down to it till now, so there are a lot of things I’m going to mention…

First, I was informed that Microsoft India has launched Win with Search to make the process of searching for things more fun, where you have the opportunity to win free talktime when you play. It may not be a big thing to win free talktime here in the Western world, but if you’re a student on a pay-as-you-go (pre-paid) scheme in India, then I can see this being attractive. If you have some time on your hands, then you can also try this game. To promote Windows Live in the country, they’ve also launched the Windows and Me campaign. I particularly enjoyed watching the arranged marriage video on the site’s main page – I think it’s pretty funny and an accurate summary of how the arranged marriage deal works in the country!
Next, Ford has launched a new campaign for the new Ford Ka, where you can download a 3D application for your Nokia phone (if its a model from the last 2 years) – or a Windows Mobile camera phone – and then point your phone at the 3D marker to see things in a new light. More at Go Find It. Essentially, the campaign aims to target young people who like digital technology, like the car itself – which apparently uses a lot of it. I can’t vouch for it since I obviously haven’t driven the car, but it seems an interesting vehicle to look at if I were in the market for one. The campaign itself has some intriguing elements, like a film guide to street art around Shoreditch
Moving on, I listened to the first Monocle podcast the other day and can recommend it. The introductory programme had a range of speakers including Alain de Botton speaking about the forecast for 2009. Some of the things that were mentioned included the return of craft in CD covers (something I’ve been thinking about for a while), the aging of society in Japan, the fact that people are going to spend more time thinking about what they spend their money on, that delivering values will be of prime importance for brands (like Stumptown Coffee, a small American coffee brand that invests in things like bringing the people who grow their coffee beans in places like Africa, to the U.S, on internships. Their consumers buy that value when they buy their coffee from Stumptown, in effect). Fiona Wilson, Monocle’s Asia Bureau Chief, mentioned something that I wouldn’t have believed to be true if I’d randomly heard it: iTunes does not dominate the market in Japan (Hallelujah!). She also mentioned one brand I really like – Uniqlo, and said that despite the economic downturn, they are continuously shifting millions of pairs of jeans because of the superior retail experience they offer – which is something that Western retail environments need to work on. Further, it seems people in Korea are approaching life from a craft-based perspective. When I read about Anthropologie’s craft workshops, I thought the trend had spread to the West pretty quickly!! On a more serious note, it links back to what was mentioned in the Monocle podcast – the importance of adding value in what you deliver.
OK, that’s it for now. Bring on 2009. 
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