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Microsoft offers $300m for web-washing ad campaign

Marketing 101: If you can't innovate, advertise

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Reader challenge Microsoft is touting $300m in advertising pork to the shiny suits of Madison Avenue in return for a smart way to pimp its lacklustre web services.

"They are trying to make Windows cool, relevant and internet-centric," one contender agency is reported as saying in the New York Post. "They don't want to be seen as a stodgy computer company."

Apparently, the $300m brief is to help everyone understand that the baffling gaggle of Windows Live services are actually awesome.

We've been here several times before. Most recently, isn't the desire to be seen as hip to the web why Redmond paid $240m for a piffling 1.6 per cent of revenue-lite Facebook - a site Steve Ballmer described as a "fad"?

Microsoft certainly needs to do something. The latest research from the search market - where the money is in online services - shows that Google's slice of the pie continues to grow. In the US in October, 58.5 per cent of web queries went though its enormous text ad farms.

But we can't help think that if Microsoft really wants to get in with the web crowd, it's going about it all wrong by asking high priced New York creatives what to say. In the spirit of the modern information superblogway we're asking you, dear wise crowd, to come up with a new advertising slogan for Windows-brand web services.

Post your slogan in the comments. The best will be forwarded to S. Ballmer, Redmond, WA for his consideration.

There are no rules to this brainstorm, but the Reg strategy boutique recommend you stick on some whalesong, and light up a few calming joss-sticks before getting entering your creative space.

As ever, all rights to the $300m reserved, and no prizes - other than the admiration of your peers and glory that will echo in eternity. ®

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