It’s Do or Die time for Windows

Microsoft Windows Canada is getting the word out about its latest national marketing effort with a series of immersive TSAs in Toronto.

Most students these days would easily say they could not survive without their computer – but can they survive with only their laptop?

Microsoft Widows Canada is taking a gutsy leap of faith – and making its target consumer do the same – with ‘Do or Die,’ a online and offline campaign challenge to college-age students who think they can make it in a foreign city with no cash and no suitcase to lean on.

Armed with only their PCs, on May 26, three winners – selected via a social-media voting contest – will be sent out on a mission somewhere in the world, accompanied by a friend who will record their adventures on a Windows phone and share them with Windows’ Facebook community.

The idea was spawned by focus group work Microsoft did with their target demo, college-age students, says Aaron Coldiron, Windows consumer business group lead, Microsoft Canada.

‘One of the things that we learned when talking with students is that 54% of them said that if they were stranded on a desert island, the one thing they would take with them is their PC,’ he says. ‘We’re putting that to the test and picking three college-age students and sending them to weird places around the world to see if they can make it.’

‘This is a bit of a first for us, in terms of how daring it is of the campaign,’ he says. ‘In a sense it’s kind of pushing the reality show format a little bit,’ he adds, explaining that the contestant’s adventures will be 100% unscripted. Campaign creative and contest development was handled by CP+B in Toronto.

Coldiron was especially enthusiastic about the national media plan to promote ‘Do or Die’ – developed by UM Canada – which includes wild postings, online media and three ‘immersive’ transit shelters in Toronto.

‘The transit shelter is completely wrapped to look like a marketplace in North Korea,’ Coldiron explains. ‘As you walk in, [motion sensors] trigger the sounds of the marketplace as well. So the creative concept is: could you survive here? Could you ‘Do or Die?”

There are three sound profiles, so people will hear different audio each time they enter the shelter.

The online execution is envelope-pushing for the brand as well, but won’t be revealed for several weeks, he says.

Microsoft Windows Canada recruited candidates earlier this year, selecting a top 10 to be voted on by the social media community. The top three winners will be announced on May 26, and sent off on their adventure. They’ll then have 10 days to ‘survive’ in their environment, using only their phones and PCs to reach out to others to find food, lodging and a means to get around.

The goal, from Microsoft’s point of view, is to start the conversation, says Coldiron, and then let the community run with it as the contestants reach out for help.

‘The community will be really critical to them in helping them survive,’ says Coldiron.

‘One of the things that we’ve learned about students, they see the world as completely open to them, they see the world as theirs for the taking. We think that’s perfect alignment with Windows as well, because Windows is designed for people who are doers. And that’s part of what we want to prove, is that the PC is a great companion for people who want to go out and change the world, and I think this is what this campaign is all about.’