Microsoft’s “Laptop Hunter” comes down under, gives Aussies chance to score a free laptop a day

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The Zune team needs to learn a lesson from the Windows team. Microsoft’s latest campaign, “Laptop Hunters” has made the 12,000 kilometers (7,500 miles) trip to the land down under and is now running an exclusive campaign for Australians, but with a twist.

laptop-novaUnlike the US campaign where you sit back and watch other people score cool laptops for free, Microsoft Australia in collaboration with Nova radio stations in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane are giving listeners a chance to score a Windows laptop a day.

Starting today in Melbourne (Nova 100) and Sydney (Nova 969) until Friday 12 June, and next week in Brisbane (Nova 1069) from 16 June to 20 June, clues will be provided on the breakfast shows from 8:30am and the station website to indicate where the “laptop hunter” is hiding (and presumably frozen in the cold winter breeze) in the city. Find them, tell them “I can buy great a laptop for under $1300” and they’ll take you shopping. If you do find a laptop for under $1300 (US$1000), the laptop is yours.

Videos of the winners of today’s challenge in Melbourne and Sydney will be posted later today, and I’ll embed them here when they’re available. Sounds like a lot of fun.

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Update: The first day winners are David Kerr in Melbourne and Matt McGlinn in Sydney. They picked up a Dell Studio 15 2.0GHz, 3GB RAM, 250GB HD, Windows Vista Home Premium for $1,299 and Asus X82Q 2GB RAM RA, 250GB HD, 2.2 GHz, Windows Vista Home Premium for $1,199 ($101 bonus cash) respectively.

27 insightful thoughts

  1. but… why only a day? can’t do much with laptop for a day…. unless theres unlimited internet access and you’ve installed bittorrent on it LOL

  2. Wait… $1300 AUD? I can understand if it’s $1300 USD, I mean, the laptops in the US ads had like some nice HP’s chosen, all of which cost at least $1800 over here.

  3. Laptop Hunter ads in the United States need to learn from the Windows team down under. ><

    Free laptops each day in the United States would be great, plus they could have a new commercial every day.

  4. So… hundreds, no thousands of people will be trying to find this “hunter” person each morning, all the while in the process approaching randoms telling them “I can buy a buy a great laptop for under $1300”?


    So… whether or not you find this “hunter” person you’re inadvertantly and virally creating an anti-macbook campaign that costs nothing for M$ to execute. Oh wait… it’ll cost them one measley laptop of any value UP TO $1300 per day!

    We all know you can’t get anywhere near decent choice for that price. M$ also knows that marketing dollars in AU are scarce at the best of times. This is simply a cheap marketing stunt that 99.9% of participants will never benefit from and once again M$ sways reality in order to fend off increasing Macbook sales. Good luck with that M$.

  5. @Hammer: First of all, I’ll ignore the dollar sign. Secondly, it’s the reality of marketing. A good marketing campaign is usually measured by ROI. Viral advertising thrives on the idea of spending very little and reaping the rewards of free multipliers. The odds of this Microsoft competition might not be ideal in your opinion, but the winners I’m sure have a slightly different opinion.

  6. Hammer – I believe the Apple fanboi train is over THAT way *points in random direction*

    FWIW, MS Australia is basically one big marketing organisation. I don’t think their budget would be deemed ‘scarce’.

  7. Hmmm…I have the urge to try for the Melbourne one once daylight breaks. I’ve already worked out the possible locations from the already-given clues, and by listening in, I should be able to more closely pinpoint the person’s location…

    Stuff it, I’m gonna try for it. If I succeed, you’ll know within the next 24 hours 😀 lol

  8. Just so you know, they won’t let you buy a Mac whether you want it or not. :)

    The whole point is to get a PC with Windows, and show that you are indeed satisifed with your purchase for whatever features it contains.

  9. @Hammer: LOL! You mean to tell me that Apple’s so stuck-up now that their laptops aren’t even called, “laptops” any longer? They have to be referred to as, “Macbooks,” otherwise, just about every random person approached with the phrase, “I can buy a great laptop for under $1300″ is going to automatically assume that a, “laptop” is a portable computer that only runs Windows? Man, that’s rich. Not only does Apple make you pay sky-high prices for their proprietary hardware format, but they also seem to make some of their users delusional!

    Anyway, I suppose Apple’s FUD commercials and ignorant statements like, “Windows 7 is just another Windows Vista” are somehow supposed to be more acceptable than the vague-at-best implications of a Microsoft viral campaign? Right. You get back to us Microsoft enthusiasts when you can cook up a logical (not personal) justification for that one.


  10. @Hammer: Oh, and one more thing I forgot to touch on: “We all know you can’t get anywhere near [a] decent choice for that price…”

    Ah, “we all,” huh? You’ve got to love the fallacy of, “Straw Man.”

    Who’s, “we all?” Because, the, “we all” that *I* know, know that you CAN get a great choice of laptop for that price! No, you can’t run Crysis in its full glory, but there’s not much that can’t be done on a $1300 laptop these days. Then again, why am I even going out of my way to make such a point to a person who obviously has no experience with something so HORRID as a, *gasp!*, LAPTOP! *DUN, DUN, DUUUUNNNNNN!!!!*


  11. Gah, I was soooo close.

    The guy was next to some Australia Post letter-boxes, holding an umbrella on the corner of Lonsdale Street and Swanston Street.

    I get to the corner across the road from there, waiting for the lights to turn green so I can cross, and while I’m waiting, somebody else comes up to him and wins :(

    I reckon probably another 15 seconds earlier and I so would’ve had it.

    Ahh well, still 2 more days to win. I’m not gonna give up that easily 😛

  12. OMG, this has to be THE lamest marketing effort I have ever seen.

    I love Windows and Windows 7 is great but this has to be the stupidist marketing idea for a long time and just a cheap way to get ‘extra’ media time on a radio station….boring and so old and HOW CHEAP! $1,300 bucks? You are kidding me right?

    Microsoft Australia must be full of marketing hacks because I have yet to see anything worthwhile or even memorable coming out of them.

  13. This ranks among the most abysmal ads I’ve seen, uninspiring at best. If anything it’s a sad indictment of the retail PC experience – anonymous-looking shelves lined with poorly-presented machines, obscure and often indistinguishable hardware, machines that look identical but are priced differently for undefined reasons. Sad.

    I loved how the laptop Hunter selected his machine without even looking at it or even touching it first.

    Customer: “What’s this thing?”
    Salesman: “That? This one has 3GB of RAM instead of two”
    Customer: “Sold!”

    It’s time to reboot the retail PC experience. I really believe Microsoft needs to intervene and help retailers rethink the way PCs are marketed and presented to the public. Borrow a page from Apple and setup machine s based around real-world scenarios, like editing video, or managing photos. Sell PCs based on what they DO, not what they HAVE under the hood. 4GB of RAM means little if the consumer doesn’t understand what the hell that even means, assisted by salespeople who are just as clueless. My two cents.

  14. This falls into the abysmal category in advertising. Marketing wise this is quite horrible as well. Just my opinion there…. i cant even make myself type a better explanation of why i feel this way.

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