Microsoft announced a multi-year partnership with Major League Soccer in 2013, delivering the best and fastest MLS content through the power of Windows. A comprehensive partnership included major media assets and significant experiential opportunities at MLS Cup, MLS All-Star Game, as well as multiple individual MLS teams.
We put the Windows operating system in the hands of soccer fans. Over three seasons, we visited 16 US markets, activated 140+ MLS matches and provided trials to 350,000+ fans. Our brief was to foster awareness, interest and intention to purchase while tracking the impact of each consumer engagement through post-trial surveys.
Microsoft Surface devices were customized for each MLS market, loaded with exclusive content, artwork, photos and highlights alongside cutting-edge features and an innovative MLS app only available on Windows.
To deliver the optimal experience at scale we assembled a nationwide team of more than 1,000 brand ambassadors. Ambassadors were vetted, hired and trained en masse, ensuring all our match day staff knew soccer, knew MLS, knew the Microsoft Surface and knew the most up-to-date Windows OS. On match days, fans were engaged one-on-one, then led through an ~4 minute trial experience plus product survey.
Beyond the match days, we mobilized our staff and took them to ancillary soccer environments in each market (youth soccer tournaments, soccer bars, supporters club rallies, etc.) to extend our opportunities for trial.
- Our NY-based social media campaign trended on Twitter, generating more than 133 million impressions as fans of RBNY and NYCFC battled to get their Club’s colors lit atop the Empire State Building while voting #NYisRED or #NYisBLUE from our Surface tablets.
- A custom Windows food truck toured the streets of Portland during MLS All-Star Game 2014, offering a sampling of food from each MLS market when ordered from our Surface tablets.
- We unveiled an 8-foot mosaic mural in Seattle to commemorate the anniversary of Sounders legend Roger Levesque’s iconic goal against Portland, made up of 3,000+ fan-submitted Instagram photos taken at our match day footprint.
- We were the first national MLS partner (we believe) to activate the MLS Cup not just in the host market, but also the visiting team market. By adding the visiting market and tapping into the fan excitement around the MLS Cup we were able to generate an additional 5,000 in-person product touch points.