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Zune Website Launches; Zune Commercials Unveiled; Zune Windows XP Theme; MSN Music Stopping Downloads; What’s With

Tons (TONS!) of Zune stuff happened the last few days, as someone at Microsoft decided to start marketing the player and revealing some details.

First off, the official Zune website is here. (yeah, I’ll get to that in a second) has launched, featuring the Zune’s big tagline: “Welcome to the social”. That is exactly the message Microsoft was hoping to deliver with the Zune, so the tagline fits well. By tagging Zune as social, it marks a contrast to the iPod, as well as somewhat of an indictment of Apple’s culture. features a Mac OS X-style dock, just like MTV’s URGE music store. It features “Cansei De Ser Sexy”, a Brazilian dance-rock group, right in the page header, photos of the Zune, a spotlight on Zune accessories, and lots of info on the player and marketplace. All in all, a good website, with a stark contrast to Apple’s iPod site. In a weird turnaround, Apple winds up looking a lot more corporate.

They also link to, which features a few funky animations set to music, definetly emphasizing “music over message”, which I think is the goal of Zune marketing. These spots are so fun, so well done, that they could have been the Zune commercials. Just ask my wife, as she dances to the music while I write this. Microsoft has done a great job with these, and whoever produced them deserves a huge bonus.

However, they aren’t the commercials. These are:

(via Gizmodo)

All solid, all on message, but not award-winning exciting like Apple’s ads have been. I’d have preferred if Microsoft had went with the Zune-arts stuff, although those spots are far too vague and don’t show the product. Microsoft did not go for the jugular with these ads, which would have been to actually ape the iPod ads and tear them apart.

Think about it, your message is that your competition is all by itself sitting with its white headphones on the train, not living, just listening. Your competition already made it okay to compare in their “I’m a Mac” ads, so why not do the same?

The perfect ad begins just like an iPod Nano ad, with the device swirling around in neon colors in the dark. Suddenly, the room lights up, revealing an iPod user alone in his bedroom, swirling his player through the air. We see that his friend has flipped the light switch, removing the isolating darkness from the room. The friend then pulls away the white headphones, and pulls the iPod user out the door into…

A giant concert arena, filled with thousands of screaming music fans. The iPod user looks around, and begins dancing to the music, enjoying the energy and enthusiasm of the crowd. Welcome to the social, indeed!

Microsoft is doing some smart things with Zune marketing, but they just need to show some fight in them. Apple is willing to go right out an say, “Windows is no good”, so Microsoft needs to do the same about iPod.

Microsoft also released a new Windows XP theme (a ridiculously rare occurence) that is designed with Zune stylings. Featuring dark colors and an orange Start button, it should make those not upgrading to Vista a little happier. Take a look:

Zune Theme

Screenshot via Zune info.

More news: On November 14, when the Zune hits, MSN Music will stop selling music downloads. The links that used to read “Buy” will now link to the Zune music store and Real’s Rhapsody (because of a settlement). If you bought MSN Music songs, they will still work on the players you got them for (PlaysForSure devices), but not Zune, so your collection may very well start accumulating digital dust.

Finally, what the hell is up with The official Zune site is, with being owned by “Gate Market Research”. For some reason, contains an obviously “Zune-style” animation. I’d suspect that if you owned, you’d try to make money off of it, too, and that seems to be what these guys are doing. If they were smart, they’d just make a few million selling it to Microsoft.

November 4th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, Windows Media, Zune | one comment
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1 Comment »

  1. I’ve been using the theme (minus the background) for about a day now, I love it. It’s beautiful. Thanks!

    I thought it was a bit reminiscent of the theme used on this site:
    Don’t like the software, but I love the site design.

    Comment by Tim | 11/6/2006

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