As Black Friday looms, Microsoft is trying to help consumers survive the holiday crunch through high-tech gift ideas, a stress-free shopping experience, and even a chance to meet St. Nick himself.
The day after Thanksgiving has long marked the start of the holiday shopping season, and Black Friday has become the busiest shopping day of the year. Microsoft has been busy trying to get out the word that Bing can help shoppers “cut through the clutter this holiday season,” said Lisa Gurry, director of marketing.
“Bing can help you with your holiday decisions whether you’re looking to purchase a gift, book a trip, or find directions to the hottest restaurant in town,” Gurry said. “Whatever you want to do this holiday season, Bing can help you make great decisions and save time.”
Recently, Bing has been partnering with some of the hottest personalities in pop culture to promote its online shopping experience, Gurry said. On Monday, Oprah Winfrey featured Bing on her “Favorite Things” episode, highlighting the decision engine as one of her favorite ways to shop. Bing was promoted alongside Donors Choose, an online charity that makes it easy to help schools in need. This holiday season, Bing is partnering with DonorsChoose.org to give US$1 million to schools via the Bing $1M Giving Challenge, Gurry said. Now through December 31st, anyone can visit the Bing.com/give site and choose for Bing to donate $1 to deserving schools with a click of a button.
Microsoft is relying on the vocal harmonies of Straight No Chaser, an a cappella act known for its holiday music, to promote Bing. Last week, the group rode around New York City atop a double decker bus and belted out a new song chronicling how Bing helped them avoid holiday overload as they shopped.
Brooke Burke, of “Dancing with the Stars” fame, is also promoting the search engine by listing some of her favorite holiday gifts and tips at BingHoliday.com.
Microsoft has launched a Facebook application that will make it easy for friends and family to compare gift ideas, Gurry said. “Bing shopping makes it easy for you to get the best deals this season,” she said. “You can easily check prices, create user reviews, and even create a shopping list to share your gift picks with your friends on Facebook.”
Meanwhile, the Windows team is spotlighting a wide range of new PCs for those shoppers looking to place a high-tech present under the tree.
“There’s a PC for every personality,” said Ben Rudolph, a senior public relations manager also known as “Ben the PC Guy.” In early December, Rudolph will host two PC Holiday Showcases in San Francisco and New York to highlight the array of machines available for consumers, which range from computers that can fit into a back pocket to ones that can be the centerpiece to a living room.
Today, there’s a corresponding PC to every lifestyle, Rudolph said. Into music? Check out the RAIN Livebook professional audio laptop, which DJ Derek Mazzone will be using to entertain event attendees. More of a gamer? Try the Origin Big O, a 130-pound behemoth that combines an Xbox 360 and a PC into one piece of hardware. (You better have been very nice to put this on your holiday wish list, though; it costs $10,000.)