Client ∼ Microsoft Advertising
Agency ∼ Clinic
Creative Team ∼ Jenny Theolin & Tim Dobbs

The Brief

To name, position and created universal materials for a European Microsoft Advertising Event Series. 

Microsoft Advertising handle advertising opportunities across the Microsoft world: everything from in-game ads via Xbox Live to a homepage takeover on MSN. I’ve worked with them closely as their brand has evolved over recent years, tackling a range of projects aimed at both internal and external audiences.

The Microsoft Advertising team responsible for markets across Europe, the Middle East and Africa were after a new showcase for their work. They wanted to talk to advertisers and agencies across a number of European countries about the opportunities on offer, and to share the findings of a new research project. They wanted all this wrapped up in a series of events with a single theme – ‘creativity’.

How could we overcome language barriers across different territories – and the logistical difficulties of having various remote teams actually delivering the sessions?

How would we bring the work of different teams within Microsoft under one umbrella – but stay flexible enough to be relevant to the situation in each market? How could we capture the imagination of a busy, sceptical trade audience of planners and media agencies – making sure Microsoft avoided a ‘hard sell’, and positioning them as ‘thought leaders’ instead? And how, above all, could we solve all these problems quickly and within budget?

The Solution


Creative Confidential

The key task was to get bums on seats at each event. We aimed for an event identity that would intrigue and excite, with ‘teaser’ activity designed to maximise the buzz about it. We developed a concept that would give the sessions an exclusive, intimate feel – with a limit on the number of places available.

Our name ‘Creative Confidential’ could be used in all territories – and let us position the events as a chance to get in on a secret. We crafted the content of each event to deliver as much entertaining interaction as possible: making sure the sessions lived up to the promise of ‘creativity’ and ‘innovation’, and generated plenty of word-of-mouth content. We made sure each session was informative, but informal – and transformed the facts and figures of the team’s research findings into a fun, punchy and interactive presentation that an audience with limited English could still follow and enjoy.

We also made our content as flexible and ‘portable’ as possible: keeping it language-neutral where we could, making full use of digital technology to ‘dress’ each venue and deliver information and engagement, and helping the team harness the power of social media to spread the good news about the events.

The tour included 8 city European cities including Zurich, Milan, Amsterdam, Oslo & Copenhagen. 


The Results

The EMEA team in the UK and local teams across the 10 countries and 11 cities hosting events are delighted. Creative Confidential had a great impact and gained very positive audience feedback, with our research presentation being particularly well received. Each event to date has met or exceeded its audience targets, with two new territories being added to the original roadshow. There’s even talk of rolling out the events across even more markets, soon.

With a short timeframe from the point of awarding the project to the first deliverable, Clinic worked hard to respond to the brief and come up with an effective concept, design and overarching story. Additional elements, such as crafting the presentation to launch some new research, were handled in a timely fashion, and Clinic helped us achieve the hard task of communicating some complex research in a simple and easy to understand way. Throughout the project, Clinic responded well to any feedback we provided to ensure our needs were met, and feedback from the events has been extremely positive.
— Helen Miall EMEA Trade Marketing Manager, Microsoft Advertising