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Product Launch Campaign: XBOX One and the Pre-Launch Party

This post was first published by Blake Snelling on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.

Over the past week, we’ve studied a few different kinds of tech product launch strategies. Today, we decided to take a look at how Microsoft launched the XBOX One.

The gaming console was unveiled in May 2013 as an “all-in-one entertainment system,” boasting features for the whole family. Unfortunately, the gaming system’s advertising strategy had an undeniably rocky start.

Along with the usual launch event that was live-streamed on the XBOX On site, Microsoft tried something new by sending out a pre-launch letter. Though intended to be a lighthearted letter to one’s spouse, critics all over Twitter interpreted it as more sexist than humorous. Yikes.Pre-Launch Marketing

Before the midnight release on Black Friday, Microsoft hosted a number of launch parties around the globe, starting in New Zealand and extending as far as Los Angeles and Paris. These parties were a star-studded hit, featuring parades, live performances and lots of XBOX One demos.

In the same way that tradeshows and events help B2B marketers generate interest for products and services, Microsoft  used these parties to show off the flashy XBOX One to the world. These launch parties were by far the strongest point of Microsoft’s launch campaign. The launch parties were widely publicized, and featured artists and celebrities from around the world who generated interest among audiences from outside the gaming world.

Social Media

Microsoft also took to social media, featuring hahstags on the XBOX One website. Although the site even had a tweet generator to make things simpler, Microsoft tweets including #XboxOne and #IGotOne were mostly overshadowed by Playstation 4 tweets. For the most part, tweets about the new Xbox were not about the product, but about the controversial wording in the unveiling letter, which was quickly addressed and revised by Microsoft.

The most successful hashtag was #XboxReveal, which trended in the top ten hashtags on Twitter.

Results

Although it’s still too soon to know for sure, reports show that the XBOX One is doing pretty well. The console’s Black Friday sale success was boosted significantly with the Xbox One Tour, which featured huge demos in shopping venues worldwide.

March’s Take

Despite the marketing blunder with the controversial pre-launch letter and lack of traction on social media compared to the Playstation 4, the XBOX One made a full recovery through the hype from worldwide launch parties and the well-coordinated XBOX One tour.

Breakdown

  • XBOX One launch parties and events were a hit that generated a lot of media online
  • The strategic Black Friday release date was great for sales.
  • The unveiling letter was a flop due to the unintended consequences of interactive messaging
  • Hashtags promoted on the XBOX One site produced considerable conversation on Twitter

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