Microsoft Tokyo Olympics ad shows Teams is more than a business app


Microsoft Teams “Ticket to Toyko” campaign.


Microsoft Teams unveiled a new ad on Tuesday that imagines what it might have been like to travel to the delayed Tokyo Olympics. The announcement shows people who had canceled plans to go to Tokyo this summer due to the pandemic receiving a virtual tour from teams of Tokyo residents.

Microsoft is trying to attract a different audience to Teams, its video and chat software, which competes with Slack, Zoom, and other services, even as people start to return to work in the United States. Teams saw a significant increase in usage as people worked from home during the pandemic. The spot aims to show that anyone, not just businesses, can use the product to connect.

The ad, which is part of a campaign called “Ticket to Tokyo,” will air at the opening ceremony on Friday and aired in the United States. The company worked with its agency Interpublic’s McCann on the campaign.

Microsoft is not an official sponsor of the Olympics, but has a history of advertising around the Games. The company is also working with NBC, which broadcasts the event, on team integrations to connect Olympic athletes with their friends and family during the Games.

The announcement comes after Tokyo Olympics sponsor Toyota said it will not air Games-related TV commercials in Japan, as public support weakens in its home country for the delayed competition in Japan. 2020. Toyota still plans to run ads in the US

Tokyo is in a state of emergency as Covid cases increase, and concern has grown over additional cases – especially as many athletes and officials tested positive upon arrival in Japan.

The Teams spot tries to give a glimpse of what travelers might have seen if they had been able to visit. Organizers of the Olympics banned all spectators from the Games earlier this month.

“What a lot of people love about the Olympic period is not just the sport, but the cultural exchange, the way different cultures and people come together, and you learn more about the country and the host country in particular, ”said Kathleen Hall, head of Microsoft. vice president of branding, advertising and research.

The Olympics have been a tricky proposition for some traders given the public sentiment in some parts of the world and the fact that they will take place without spectators. Sports odds have also weakened during the pandemic, with some expecting this year’s Summer Games to keep pace.

Hall said the Olympics always provide a rare common moment for viewers.

“For marketers, this is one of the last big opportunities to make a pretty significant, instantaneous and visible impact in a real quality environment,” she said.

Although Teams has been a staple for many workplaces during the pandemic, Hall said it will remain popular as people return to the office.

“I think normalcy doesn’t look like it used to be. I think normalcy is probably in the hybrid zone where you’re going to have employees in pretty much every meeting that some are there and some aren’t,” a- she declared. “So I think the need and use of Teams… will continue.”

Disclosure: CNBC’s parent company, NBCUniversal, owns NBC Sports and NBC Olympics. NBC Olympics is the US licensee to broadcast all Summer and Winter Games until 2032.

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