I’m A PC Stickers: The Distribution Plan


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Okay…a day later than I expected to post this but I’ve been thinking through how I equitably distribute the 10,000 I’m A PC stickers I have come in to ownership of. Stickers are fantastic viral media or social objects as my friend Hugh calls them so I’m keen to activate them in this way and get wide distribution. Given that, here is the plan…feel free to comment/suggest other ideas

Part 1: Microsoft Staff and US readers

  • If you’re a Microsoft person in the UK I will be in TVP on Thursday of this week and you can come grab up to 50 stickers from me. Email me for details
  • If you’re a Microsoft person outside of the UK I’d love to help but for now I’m limiting myself to the UK as I have a day job to do….and it’s not filling internal envelopes
  • If you’re in the US and you want stickers, you can actually buy them online
  • If you’re in the US and in Texas you can drive to meet Hugh MacLeod who will get a stash of them.

Part 2: UK residents

  • I’m going to distribute a pile of stickers to a number of “hubs” who I know will be good at sharing them with others given their social status. All being well, these will include Phil Winstanley, Ian Forrester, The Hodge, Richard Jones, Herb Kim, Chris Alexander, Alison Gow, Jack Schofield, Tom Bashman and perhaps one or two others.
  • All I ask of these folks is they distribute the stickers to others and ask them to post photos (see below)
  • If you think you should be a network point for these stickers, send me an note @stevecla on Twitter
  • I will be at Thinking Digital in Newcastle in May and will bring stickers with me so hope to see you there.
  • If you’re REALLY keen to get a sticker, lets do the Blue Peter thing – send me a stamped, self addressed envelope to Steve Clayton, Microsoft Ltd, Thames Valley Park, Reading, Berkshire, RG6 1WG (I don’t go to the office too often so it may take a few weeks).

Part 3: The Distribution Experiment

  • If you get more than one sticker either from me or from one of the folks above, please share it…I want to see how far we can make these things go. That’s the social object experiment.
  • Once you have stuck your sticker, take a photo and post it to the I’m A PC group on Facebook Flickr group (or email it to me – stevecla AT microsoft.com)…ideally with a location so we can also map them.

Part 3: The Competition

  • You can take part in this even if you have a sticker already (except MS employees)
  • When Windows 7 launches, I’ll chose the best photo that is unusual/mad/cool/whatever I like…..and the winner will get a signed copy of Windows 7 and some other schwag I can line up. Note it will not be signed by me…I will ensure it’s signed by “the other Steve”.

So there you have it….a multitude of ways to lay your hands on the humble sticker. Lets make it happen.

Comments (14)

  1. Rich says:

    “the other Steve”

    Which one?   Austin?  Cram?  McQueen?

    (just kidding, I know you mean Steve Jobs!)

    😉

  2. Sound of reason. says:

    What you describe is a push strategy.

    Viral works on a pull strategy.

    It also sounds lame. It’s like trying to make a Honda Civic cool.

    Except you only make the OS, so it’s even lamer. HP, Dell etc, make the machines. You just press a DVD with some garbage on it that many users actually pay to downgrade.

    And now you’re going to humiliate those poor consumers. By giving them a sticker to remind them.

    This is the viral equivalent of a "kick me" post-it on someone’s back. It’s worse actually, but I’m polite.

    Come on, this skit may appeal to your cognitive dissonance, but your sales figures won’t lie to you.

  3. Anthony Harrison says:

    So, ‘Sound of Reason’, are you saying you don’t want a sticker?

  4. stevecla01 says:

    Sound of reason – thanks for the f/back. I think we can safely say you’re a Mac right and don’t want a sticker?

    btw, I have a tonne of emails asking for stickers following this post. does that count as pull?

    and this has nothing to do with sales…chill out dude

  5. anon says:

    I for one would pick one of these stickers up. I’m a professional and so I use a professional machine – i.e. a PC.

    I’d feel a tool with one though, but I would definitely put it on my friends Mac!

  6. Tim Letscher says:

    I’m kind of in the "sound of reason" camp, too. The initial thing I thought when I saw the multi-colored stickers was the first bubblegum-colored iMacs… um, from last decade! Second thing I thought was, stickers are cool, but more guerrilla than I’d attribute to Microsoft. "Obey Giant" was subversive… this doesn’t feel remotely like that. Dunno, just seems culturally dischordant with Microsoft, like it’s trying too hard.

    Yes, I’ve been using Macs for 2 decades now, but I applaud what I’ve seen as real effort from Microsoft to improve the OS finally! 7 looks pretty swank from what I’ve seen. Good luck with it.

    Found this post via Hugh’s tweet so you can thank him for that. Rock.

  7. Sterling says:

    I’m a Mac and I would still love one of these… I love what it stands for.

  8. Sound of reason says:

    Hey there,

    I think you can safely assume nothing.

    You are confusing the internal / partner organisational emotion of this me-too campaign with viral marketing. It’s guerilla marketing at best. So, maybe I’m being picky on the words. What you’re doing is more an internal PR thing. But you could have printed MS ROCKS stickers and they would still have asked for them. Free stuff, you see.

    I’m sure you have a tonne of emails wanting stickers. Now from that tonne I want you to remove all MS employees, their partners and kids. Now from the remaining emails, I want you to remove your channels, vendors, agencies, retail outlets, cleaning and security staff.

    The <5(five) requests you have left is the sum effectiveness of this as a viral campaign. The rest is internal PR to people who have already "drunk the Kool-aid." But hey, it’s your money.

    Now since we’re on it and comment has been made, let’s have a quick dissection of the campaign overall. I can expand if everyone gets excited.

    I’m a PC campaign.

    Well it starts off as a me-too, trying to turn Apple’s campaign on its head. To be fair, Apple have had an easy run as Vista gets smashed for a) trying to be like OS X b) requiring far higher h/ware specs for performance parity and c) failing at a) and b). So now you’ve got some exciting news on the horizon, let’s crank up the marketing machine.

    Now the stickers are collateral for your rather awkward TVCs. First one a punter "isn’t cool enough for mac" and doesn’t like brands, so buys an HP PC. As if HP isn’t a brand, nor MS. No mention of the OS which is what you’re flogging.

    Same for the second one, except the person is a bit flasher, though has even less clue the first customer… 4GB ? – is he running NORAD on that thing?

    What would be more relevant, is their experience of using their machines after a month… removing bloatware, finding freeware equivalents of iLife…

    Commentators above make claims that a PC is a "professional machine" – which is true dependent on your profession. The same person, a professional consumer I presume, admitted they would feel a tool with the sticker… not going so well now.

    Me? I use both. MS has some interesting uses, but Vista is a hog, so I use XP. XP crashes a lot less these days (measured per month as opposed to per hour), but after 3 service packs, you’d hope so.

    So back to the plan. Employees will place stickers on their laptops, cars, friends cars, friends macs, Apple stores, genitals, drunk / passed-out friends, ATMs, broken NT4 display systems, signposts, police cars, etc.

    Then photograph their handywork.

    Then post it on a public FB forum.

    Now I know you’ve drunk the Kool-aid, but doesn’t this sound like a PR disaster waiting to happen?

    The stickers will become synonymous with lame or at worst, wanton vandalism. Pretty coloured stickers do not an aspirational brand, make.

    Hey, go for your life – it’s not my brand you’re playing with…

  9. stevecla01 says:

    sound of reason – you’re wrong. I removed all of the people you asked for and it’s more than 5. in fact go here and you’ll see that it’s more than 5

    http://blogs.msdn.com/stevecla01/archive/2009/01/31/i-m-a-pc-stickers.aspx

    as for the campaign you’re wrong there too I’m afraid. this isn’t about Windows, it’s about the PC. It’s about redfining the PC for all of the people who own them rather than have Apple define those people. Apple puts you in a box, the PC is about choice and that’s what you’ll see from these ads.

    As for the experience after a month, I pretty much stopped using my mac after a month. Why? I just felt constrained by it…like I was a guest in Apple’s world. I love their hardware and it’s cool for sure but it’s too high a price to pay. I also didn’t like the constant service packs every time I turned the machine on…but apple doesn’t call them SP’s, they offer you a few hundred meg with "fixes". hmmm

    so back to the plan…people want to be part of this and you may disagree and that’s your choice…but hey, thanks for playing along.

  10. Sound of reason says:

    Steve,

    You’re right. I feel foolish that 50 people globally asked for stickers, when I suggested 5. We’ll come back to the stickers, later.

    On to the main event. The campaign. Now I’ve done a bit of hunting around and a PC is, according the Oracle of Wiki, OS independent. So both my mac and my Vostro are PCs. But that’s not what you meant…

    "A PC IS NOT A STEREOTYPE" – I’m a PC FB page.

    So in that case, why did you take a line from a hugely successful competitor campaign which lampoons your weaknesses and appropriate it yourself? It sounds like a 12-step CBT thing.

    "It’s about redfining the PC for all of the people who own them rather than have Apple define those people."

    What? That. Doesn’t. Make. Sense.

    But I’ll try – I re-read that line and whichever way you cut it, it sounds like purchase post-rationalisation every time. Or the same cognitive dissonance from my first comment. Neither explanation makes strategic sense, but hey. Do clarify.

    "Apple puts you in a box, the PC is about choice and that’s what you’ll see from these ads."

    A box? What box? What does this box do? What does it say on the outside? Speaka di Inglish 🙂

    To choice. The swathes of shiny laptops do say choice. They also say – 20 million hardware permutations, will you get the right one for your needs, existing hardware and moreover Windows 7? Remember PCs which were happily running XP suddenly being sub-minimum spec for Vista?

    I’m still laughing at that hair-gel-and-loafers guy who is "tech savvy" and gets a laptop with 4GB of RAM. I still want to know what he’s going to do with it. My money is surf internet dating and porn sites…

    Which brings me to a point of mollification for you. We never understand why they’re buying a computer in the first place, so it’s a bit hard to identify with them on anything other than attractiveness, comedy value or the wad of cash being wafted at them. Some people will want and need PCs of course, but if you make that point based on cheaper cost and anti-cool, then you’re merely helping Apple’s premium position.

    You’ve missed my point about the total ownership experience. Guess what, employees in public fora and actors (which they are) in reality TV ads think their products are great if they want to keep their job. No-one cares what a MS employee has to say about their product experience. That’s why you canned the Bill & Jerry ads. As for system updates – what a furphy as you well know.

    Now we were coming back to the stickers, weren’t we. Now I know MS knows a trick or two about software, but creativity has never been its strong point. I know, I really do. Even so I’d have thought that digital distribution would have been a sharper way of sending the message out. Less carbon footprint you see. Also gives you the chance to allow people to create and modify their stickers, create online ones, HUGE ones, teeny ones, mashups and video. This changes it from being a static piece of sticky paper (how quaint) into something that is truly viral. It’s shared and enjoyed, laughed at – who can project an "I’m a PC’ onto an Apple store, make a cake, let your mind free!

    But no. Maybe I’m too creative? Maybe I’m not a PC?

    Or maybe you’re just an OS.

  11. stevecla01 says:

    ahh, sound of reason…what a delight to wake up to another essay from you. I’m glad we have you so engaged in this campaign.

    sorry about the foolish feeling but yep, people really do want these stickers. did i mention it’s the #1 source of searches to my blog?

    You’re right…the Mac is a PC but strangely Apple don’t call it a PC in their ads….hence what our ads are all about. repositioning the PC as a something for everyone, not just the cool cats. That’s the precise reason we took from Apple’s campaign…it’ll be interesting to see their response as personally I think it’s a pretty smart move. Don’t take my word for it though (I know you wont)…read what others think

    http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/03/26/new-microsoft-ads-point-out-cough-high-cost-of-macs/

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/18/business/media/18adco.html?_r=2&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&adxnnlx=1221791276-/1OCeMYx64PTIllEAbl/og

    http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/09/19/huh-those-mac-ads-arent-as-funny-any-more/

    You seem pretty hung up about this 4GB RAM thing too…what’s with that? if they guy wants 4gb of RAM, let him have it. it’s his choice 🙂 choice is good.

    I don’t get your point about helping Apple’s premium. I’m not sure that’s help in the current climate where people are watchign every penny they spend. of course you can buy a PC that is a very similar price to a Mac…Vaio’s are much closer in price but once again the point is that in the PC world, there is a lot of choice. If someone wants a bright pink PC with 4GB of RAM and a video camera, go knock yourself out…it’s out there. if you want a super sleek, machine that weighs less than 2kg and has 7hr battery life, that’s out there too.

    on to total experience…yep, we have some work to do there. did you really check out the Vostro though? you can buy that machine without any additional software installed. ditto with Sony’s…it’s now an option. See, the PC gives people choice 🙂

    Bill and Jerry ads…weren’t cancelled as the popular press would have you believe. all part of a campaign.

    so…we come back to the stickers. having seen your <5 argument fall by the wayside we shift to digital distribution. it’s a fine point and one I am working on as it happens…i wonder if Apple are doing the same instead of putting a sticker in every product they ship? oops…did we copy that too? 🙂 ….anyway, back to choice. our stickers come in 4 lovely colours offering a delightful choice but your ideas are all good ones so I’m off to check out hwo we can provide digital versions. in the meantime, feel free to grab the ones from the top of this post and mashup as you see fit. I can’t wait to see your creative streak 🙂

    will you be creating on your Mac or your PC?

  12. Chris says:

    How to get a sticker in The Netherlands?

    Or is it US & UK only?

  13. stevecla01 says:

    chris – UK only right now I’m afraid 🙁

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