Microsoft and Windows renovating “The Block”

Microsoft is not shy to product placement on TV shows. Recently, Bing and Windows Live have appeared front and center in scenes of “Chuck”. Now in Australia, Windows 7 and Windows Phone is also making a splash on reality TV for a popular homes renovation show called “The Block”.

As a sponsor of the show, each of the four teams were provided with two Windows 7 laptops (an ASUS U36 and Sony YB Series) and two HTC HD7 Windows Phones to use during the competition to renovate four houses from scratch. Inside the house, each team was also provided with a HP TouchSmart to showcase the latest PC technologies in their homes.

Furthermore, the show even held a special challenge where one team won a special entertainment prize pack with a sleek Acer Revo Media Center, XBOX 360 Kinect bundle and TV to outfit their living area. The challenge required contestants to use the photo-stitching and editing capabilities of Windows Live Photo Gallery to produce a magazine cover.

With around 1.4 million viewers per weeknight, I can only imagine it’s raising some awareness for Windows Phone 7, Windows Media Center and Windows Live to an audience just like the contestants they’re watching, not necessarily technologically savvy or informed.

What makes this product placement unique is the fact that it’s all real. Not only are the products on the market today, they’re all practical and affordable to most people watching the show and maybe thinking of renovating their own house. The people using the technology are also not actors and using actual capabilities of the technology to solve real problems.

Even though I’m personally fatigued of reality TV, I must admit it’s nice to see real technology on TV and not the bullcrap under the cloak of technology we’ve come to expect of TV.

10 insightful thoughts

  1. The product placement is so bad in this show, even Sony (think Bond movies) would be ashamed.

    WP7 has barely got a mention which is not surprising, seeing it’s the ‘Windows 7’ brand doing the sponsoring.

    Video diaries with Windows 7? I don’t know of an application (that comes installed, excluding WL Essentials) that does this.

    The problem Microsoft has in trying to promote something like Windows, is you don’t go to a store to buy it, you go to a store and buy a computer with it pre-installed (yes, you can ‘buy it’, but not the market that they’re advertising to).

  2. You can write about a reality TV show without adding a “I don’t really like it guys, honestly!” disclaimer. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone.

  3. Don’t worry, Long Zheng, I don’t like reality TV either. I used to depending on what it was about, but I hate the fact of how these days, everything including TV shows like reality TV is so cheaply produced, then used by TV broadcasters on repeat as fillers when they have nothing else to show! >_<

    BTW (and I don't mean this in a bad way), barring the flatscreen TV and computer, that living room looks soooooo 1965! I love all the pure white walls and shelves!

  4. I just wish the Chuck “Subway” placements weren’t so painfully obvious. Just show them eating it, don’t have dialogue about how tasty the new flatbread sandwich is.

  5. Long,

    On the first night of this season of The Block (June 20) – I blogged on this product placement: http://www.wpdownunder.com/?p=1316 and hit up MS the next day via Twitter. I was assured there was a forthcoming MS Aus News release, feature story or marketing piece to support. Did I miss it?

    Let’s see – anything here:

    http://www.microsoft.com/australia/presspass/theme/windows-phone – April 2011 = last news release.
    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsphone/en-au/default.aspx – nope nothing there.
    http://www.thewindowsblog.com.au/category/windows-phone-7/ – Nope nothing there either.

    How about an interactive MS WP7 Demo like I found and blogged here: http://www.wpdownunder.com/?p=1707 – Nope nothing like that in AUS I can see.

    What the heck is going on with MS Marketing for WP7 in Australia? Working with Developers is not enough MS…. :(

    Sheeds.

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