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.

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