Zune Dropping Its "Social" Mask


New ZunesWell, it was superficially social to begin with, and then, the sharing part of it would only make sense if there were as many people walking around with a Zune as the number of iPods. Since that didn’t happen, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) is dropping its “social” brand positioning on Zune, as it starts to market its revamped music players, reports AdAge.

The original strategy painted the iPod as an isolating device and Zune as more social because of its song sharing. Now the campaign is centered on the individual and tagged “You make it you.” The iPod “has become a superficial status symbol,” said Mike Harris, partner-strategy for T.A.G. Zune is more personal, he said. Whatever that means.

Also, MSFT is upping its ad budget for the Zune: This year, it’s already almost twice last year’s entire budget — $17 million for the first six months of the year, according to TNS Media Intelligence. Last year with launch, its strategy focused on promoting the player through alternative and online channels. Now, Zune needs mass reach and fast so it will be very heavy on TV, the story says.

Update: Staci adds: The irony here is that the new iteration of Zune will be more social, with the Zune Social community launching in beta and fewer barriers on the player itself. But Rafat is right — in all of my travels, the only time I’ve ever been able to share music using a Zune was at my local Circuit City. Not even in Seattle could I find another Zune user with their wireless turned on. This could start to change with the new software build, which those of us with first gen Zunes found out tonight will be updated starting Nov. 13.



I explored the difficulties MS will have with its ongoing Zune strategy (with links, videos and background) at:

"In the shadow of the iPod: Microsoft Zuning out of the Social"

"…Zune has no compelling advantage over the iPod, other than being not-the-iPod. With the possible exception of Sony (that apparently cannot write software if its life depended on it), there’s really no other company better positioned to challenge Apple’s digital music hegemony than Microsoft. But is Microsoft being delusional here or is Zune 2 just a bridge to Zune 3 that’ll crush the iPod?"

"So what does Microsoft do for Zune 2? Double the ad budget ($17 million for the next six months), change the ad agency (McCann-Erickson’s new T.A.G. unit in San Francisco) and drop the “Welcome to the Social” strategy.


I have been hearing an announcement is imminent at Ad Tech where Facebook and Zune announce an ad supported, free, on-demand service in addition to what we already know; they want to go head-to-head with iTunes. Additionally, this will will involve UMG and Total Music (Doug Morris is out for Steve Jobs head and their fixed pricing)…Rafat, do you have any window into this?



Your little comment is rather a joke.

I got an iPod Touch too, and I HATE it. The iTunes WiFi store is super slow. At first, the UI itself was also slow to respond to my touch. It cost a lost for some measly GB! It uses iTunes!

I'm planning on returning the Touch, and getting something more reliable. I heard most Zune owners are happy with them, and the Zune 80 is a sweet deal for me. So stick with your Touch, and discover the many problems there is in a premature technology.

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