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Posts Tagged ‘Xbox’

PR Stunt: Microsoft Released a Bunch of (Canadian) Zombies for Product Rollout

Another Halloween stunt we missed yesterday: in order to promote the new Xbox, Microsoft Canada staged a little zombie apocalypse with the help of a few dozen extras bussed in from wherever actors gather to drink and commiserate.

Earlier in the week, the company set up a huge replica of the new console in a parking lot, leaving many to wonder what the hell was going on. They got their answer yesterday morning, when the box opened to reveal the zombie scourge, assembled to promote the upcoming shooter Dead Rising 3.

We assumed that the undead Canucks would be a little more polite than your average zombie, being from the Great White North and all—but judging by these Vine and Instagram video clips, they were just as thirsty for blood and flesh as your average recently deceased, newly cannibalistic fiend. Some onlookers were like “meh“, but most seemed impressed.

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How Major Brands Want to Monopolize Our Children

Depending on what kind of family you were raised by, you either have lovingly wonderful or horribly debilitating memories of the iconic board game, Monopoly. If you had the type of sister who lent you money, you probably think life is fair. If you had the type of brother who spit in your mouth, you probably think Monopoly is the root of the global recession. That game brought out the best and worst of our siblings.

Nevertheless, few would argue Monopoly needed to be kicked up a notch, particularly considering the public ill will towards soulless megabrands and the corrupt state of our financial institutions. Making Monopoly any more corporate—particularly now—would just be tone deaf and greedy far beyond taking your brother’s money and fanning yourself with it, right? Well, you may want to sit down for this. Read more

New App Allows Gamers to Order Pizza Via Xbox

Rejoice, ye college kids (and grown-ups who still spend their weekends in an ever-expanding pile of beer cans and pizza boxes while playing Halo)! You no longer need to suffer through the painstaking effort of pausing your game, dropping the controller, and picking up the phone to order dinner – Pizza Hut and Xbox Live have heard your cries of desperation and are here to help.

In what can only be called the most diabolical dietary partnership since Eric Cartman’s pairing of Hot Pockets and World of Warcraft, Pizza Hut has made their full menu—including customizable pizzas—available through a new Xbox Live app, which allows Xbox 360 owners to place orders using the controller, voice commands, or the Kinect sensor. In order to streamline the pizza’s progress from delectable idea to tangible belt-loosening poundage, users can even connect their PizzaHut.com and Xbox accounts to simplify the ordering process.

Larry Hyrb, Microsoft’s Director of Programming for Xbox Live, said of the pairing:

“We’re always looking at ways to give our audience more of what they’re interested in. If you look at our audience, they love pizza. I mean, who doesn’t? It has international appeal, and Pizza Hut is a recognized brand that matches up well with the Xbox brand.”

Now there’s a man who knows his audience.

So now, if you can just program your robot vacuum to answer the door for you, you may never need to leave your living room again!

Microsoft Xbox Director Departs After Twitter Overshare

Today in No, You’re Not a Company Spokesperson news: last week some gamer blogs let their readers know that the new Microsoft Xbox, scheduled for a reveal in May, will require users to maintain “an active internet connection” at all times. Now get ready for a shocker: some people who own Xboxes do not have access to an “always on” connection — and the geeks voiced their disapproval online.

Now for the PR Fail: This outrage irritated creative director Adam Orth, who took to his personal Twitter feed to let the world know it. This message started a conversation in which Orth told the concerned parties that they were just out of luck:Orth made a couple of mistakes here: first, he commented on a story that his employer had yet to announce publicly. More importantly, he effectively told members of his own fanbase to stop complaining.

Microsoft didn’t care for that one bit, and we’ll let Brad Pitt tell you why:

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10 Brands That Do Customer Service Right on Twitter

Here’s an interesting fact: 30% of top brands now have “dedicated customer service Twitter handles”. This makes perfect sense, right? Customers value great service above all else, they love the instant gratification of social media and they really, really hate waiting for reps to pick up the phone. Also: by establishing separate Twitter handles for customer service, brands can “divert negative attention and activity” away from the primary feed.

So what goes into running a great customer service operation in the twittersphere? In order to find out, we poked around and found ten examples of brands that are doing it right, starting with some of the biggest.

1. Nike Support: This one is pretty much the gold standard. A quick glance at the account with all replies shows you how quickly and how often the feed’s managers respond to individual customers.

2. Xbox Support: Xbox boldly claims to hold the Guinness World Record for “most responsive Twitter feed”–and based on the number of replies their team posts every minute, we can see why they make that claim.

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How Brands Use Games to Develop Better Products and Marketing Campaigns

Gamification: it’s a relatively new buzzword, but you’ve probably been hearing a lot about it lately. Why? Because it’s now clear that digital games go well beyond your XBox and Farmville accounts. All kinds of brands can use games to promote their products: here, for example, Edelman PR‘s Robert Phillips discusses the firm’s success creating a digital bar distraction for popular rum brand Captain Morgan.

And companies don’t just use gamification to entertain customers and familiarize them with a brand–it can help them develop better products and figure out exactly what the public wants from them in the first place. We recently had the chance to chat with Julie Wittes Schlack, SVP of Innovation and Design at Communispace, to figure out how they help brands like Kraft, State Farm, Citigroup and Comcast develop better products and marketing campaigns with simple betting games known as “prediction markets.”

How does the public see “gamification”? Do they distinguish it from traditional video games? 

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Is Microsoft ‘Cool’ Now, or Was This Just a Big Stunt?

A couple of weeks ago we poked fun at Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for his brilliant plan to make the tech dinosaur “cool”  despite the fact that price has been its main selling point for some time. Yet today marked the official release of the Surface tablet and the Windows 8 platform and, based on the public reaction, we feel like Ballmer may have succeeded in spite of himself.

OK, we love our Xbox, but when was the last time anyone got excited about a new Microsoft product?

Apparently that would be yesterday. Microsoft aimed to make a spectacle out of its new product rollout, and the crowds at its Times Square preview event were surprisingly dense.

The craziest thing about the scene was the fact that none of the people who waited in line for a Surface last night actually got one. They paid for the tablet, and then they were told that they could either return at midnight to pick it up or “have it delivered to their homes or hotel rooms by noon tomorrow.”

Wow. That’s iPhone-level insanity.

Has Microsoft really become a contender for techie supremacy again?

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Ballmer’s Brilliant Plan: Make Microsoft ‘Cool’

When you try to think of the most groundbreaking “devices and services” company in the world today, the first name that comes to mind is…Microsoft, right?

No? Well, CEO Steve Ballmer wants to change all that, and he’s got a brilliant, semi-secret plan to do it—by making the company “cool” again. See those air quotes? Oh yeah, we’re totally (not) feeling it.

Ballmer’s recent letter to shareholders promises to deliver more products like the Xbox (which is actually pretty cool) and the Surface (which is an iPad with a kickstand) as well as the brand new MS Office and Windows 8, opening on PC screens near you later this month. Ballmer also plans to focus more on omnipresent cloud services, which will be key to any electronics company looking to compete in the market of the future—or the present, come to think of it.

By referring to “a new era”, Ballmer all but concedes that his company has fallen behind a certain fruit-themed competitor—a theory reinforced by Kurt Eichenwald’s Vanity Fair article about Microsoft’s “lost decade” which notes that the iPhone currently “brings in more revenue than the entirety of Microsoft”. The article focuses on bureaucracy inhibiting innovation—and, you know, we haven’t heard about too many ground-breaking products emerging from Microsoft in recent years. Have you?

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