NEWS - Monday, June 21, 2004

Xbox Reaching Out To Local Events

As the console wars cool on the advertising front, Microsoft Xbox’s marketing game plan calls for a more low-profile, holistic approach. Instead of a splashy ad campaign, Xbox has been banging out deals, like a new year-long agreement with House of Blues where the consoles will be installed at all House of Blues locations beginning Aug. 1. Under the deal, special "Xbox Live at the House of Blues" nights also will include "Game with Fame" competitions where fans can play celebrities using the console’s online capabilities. Promotional print and online ads through House of Blues will tout the events and the partnership. Xbox’s other efforts include sponsorship of nearly a dozen summer concert festivals, including WXRK New York’s Dysfunctional Family Picnic. It also sponsors venues like Clear Channel’s White River Amphitheater Auburn, Wash., and Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif. On the sports front, Xbox is a sponsor of the Association of Volleyball Professionals, Brad Pollard in the IRL Infinity Racing Series and 17 minor league baseball teams. On the Major League level it created Xbox Zones in the Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians’ stadiums. "It’s all about reaching our core teen and young adult audience in ways that are relevant to them, like music, movies and sports," said Bill Nielsen, director-Xbox marketing at Microsoft.

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