Making the impossible possible

Creating a platform to power 12 global campaigns for Microsoft

As a large company with multiple technologies and audiences, Microsoft has many autonomous business units that must work together to achieve their particular goals. When Microsoft came to POP, they needed a creative way to communicate a unified story across the growing Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise business.

“We started by talking to our own internal team of developers and IT pros. We had to first understand their pain points and capture the tension in order to find an authentic starting place,” said Alison Tintle, Creative Director at POP.

“The conclusion we came to is that IT professionals are essentially asked to do the impossible every day. Have a more accessible system but tighter security; be more efficient with fewer resources; move faster with more complexity. We used the idea of the impossible paradox as the rallying theme for our campaign,” said Jaime Diskin, Associate Creative Director at POP.

The creative executions for the global campaigns highlight the impossible feats that the various business groups face by juxtaposing dramatic imagery with bold headlines that speak to tensions of day-to-day IT dichotomies.

“The creative quality is the best I’ve seen in years of agency work,” said Nicole Ghazal, Senior Paid Media Manager, Microsoft Cloud + Enterprise.

In fact, the creative was so effective that Microsoft decided to expand the number of campaigns from four to twelve, to include SQL Server, Power BI, Visual Studio, Advanced Analytics, and IoT. As the campaigns rolled out and started receiving positive responses worldwide, Microsoft extended POP’s scope from interactive banners to social media and native content and then finally to events.

“Even with a concept that really resonated, we had to be savvy about how we executed it. IT pros, as a group, bristle when they think they are being advertised to, so we needed to reach out to them in a way that provided value. Tying our campaign to native advertising proved really effective. We gave IT execs information they found useful, not just simple advertisements that got in the way of whatever content they were trying to access,” said Diskin.

The creative quality is the best I’ve seen in years of agency work.
— Nicole Ghazal, Senior Paid Media Manager, Microsoft Corporation

“Yes, we are speaking to enterprise-level businesses, but those businesses are made up of people. People don’t connect with trite imagery and industry buzzwords,” said Tintle.

The campaign continues to grow. In addition to the over 500 different iterations of the creative concepts that POP has delivered for various media and audiences, Microsoft further expanded the campaign to include event marketing. Using the Impossible campaign as a jump-off point, POP branded two events for Microsoft Cloud+Enterprise.

“This was a true partnership every step of the way,” said Ghazal. “I was impressed with how deeply POP worked to understand our various product and business goals. Different from other agencies, POP’s creative talent is sourced to work under a high degree of technical acumen. This difference in talent selection made creative approvals simple and campaign performance strong. POP gets B2B marketing.”

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