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MSN Creative Awards Celebrate Pioneers in Online Advertising
MSN rewards top online campaigns for the third year; $50,000 is awarded to winning agencies.

NEW YORK, Aug. 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Some of the U.S. advertising industry's most entertaining, effective and innovative online campaigns earned kudos last night at the third annual MSN Creative Awards, presented by MSN(R). Eight prominent agencies received a total of $50,000 to honor their groundbreaking work in four categories of online advertising for campaigns that appeared on MSN sites over the past year. The winners were chosen from more than 300 creative entries representing over 130 brands in a competition centered on the theme of Web pioneers.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000822/MSFTLOGO )

"We applaud this year's winning agencies for delivering exceptionally effective and boldly original campaigns on behalf of their clients, and we're especially pleased to have this creativity and online impact featured on MSN," said Joanne Bradford, chief media revenue officer for MSN. "With a top prize of $50,000 awaiting the overall best-in-show winner at next year's MSN Creative Awards, we expect even more agencies and brands will join us in continuing to push the boundaries of what is possible in online advertising."

Judges selected the winning campaigns on the basis of creative execution, innovation and overall ad effectiveness. For the first time, entries this year were judged by a panel of leading creative officers and creative directors from among the most prestigious advertising agencies in North America. Chaired by Paul Lavoie, chairman and chief creative officer of TAXI, the judges included Benjamin Palmer, president and co-founder of The Barbarian Group LLC; Aaron Griffiths, partner and creative director of OgilvyOne San Francisco; Dave Batista, co-founder and executive creative director of BEAM; and Will McGinness, group associate creative director of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.

Gold award honors and a $10,000 prize in the newly added Video category went to the Hill Holliday agency in New York for its ad on behalf of The American Red Cross. Hill Holliday created a 30-second video that shows various people -- a truck driver, a man washing his car, an elderly woman wheeling her trash can to the curb, a girl walking her dog -- as different voices are heard saying: "I don't think like you. I don't laugh at the same jokes as you. I don't speak like you. I don't eat the food you do. I don't celebrate the same holidays as you. But I will help save your life." It concludes with the message, "When you help the American Red Cross, you help America."

Critical Mass received a $5,000 silver award in the Video category for its ad campaign on behalf of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority via a partnership with R&R Partners. Its 15-second video, "What the Maid Found," follows a Las Vegas hotel's housekeeper as she discovers a strange assortment of items -- from a riding crop to maracas to a single go-go boot -- that the room's occupant left behind. The streaming ad closes with Las Vegas' signature tagline: "What happens here, stays here."

Silver awards of $5,000 also went to the following agencies and campaigns (in parentheses):

* Direct Response. Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco (Subway); Real Pie Media, Beverly Hills, Calif. (Fox Searchlight Pictures' film "Sideways") * Branding. Carat Interactive, San Francisco (adidas a3 Megaride shoe); OMD Digital and Fallon Worldwide (United Airlines); Goodby, Silverstein & Partners (HP PhotoSmart 8450 printer and HP Vivera inks) * Rich Media. MECi-The Digital Edge, Los Angeles and Dare, London (Sony Ericsson P910 smartphone); Media 8 Digital Marketing (in partnership with The Cartel Group), Miami (U.S. Army)

The $25,000 that was earmarked for this year's best-in-show winner will be added to the prize money for this honor in the 2006 contest, creating a $50,000 incentive for agencies to produce superior ads in the months to come.

"The campaigns we selected are more testimony that the Web has become another exciting creative opportunity for agencies in their pursuit of new ways for advertisers to connect with audiences. I applaud MSN for playing such an integral role in inspiring the advertising community with these awards," Lavoie said. "Yet, even with the number of exceptional campaigns submitted this year, the judges agreed that the surface has barely been scratched when it comes to the creativity and impact possible in online advertising. Our choice to withhold the best-in-show award this year reflects our belief that no one piece submitted this year set a new standard, but also is a challenge for some agency out there to lead the way with next year's show."

About the MSN Creative Awards

The MSN Creative Awards competition is an annual contest open to any company that has created online advertising to run on MSN in the United States during the past year. MSN encourages advertisers and marketers to view the showcase of this year's entries to see the dynamic work that has been done online. Contest rules, snippets of the creative judges' feedback and a showcase of this year's winning entries can be found at http://advertising.msn.com/contest .

About MSN

MSN attracts more than 420 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 41 markets and 21 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering Web services to consumers and online advertising opportunities to businesses worldwide. The most useful and innovative online service today, MSN brings consumers everything they need from the Web to make the most of their time online. MSN is located on the Web at http://www.msn.com/ . MSN worldwide sites are located at http://www.msn.com/worldwide.ashx .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

NOTE: Microsoft and MSN are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Microsoft Corp.

CONTACT: Jennifer Treadwell, +1-646-522-6490, or jtreadwell@wagged.com,
or Rapid Response Team, +1-503-443-7070, or rrt@wagged.com, both of Waggener
Edstrom, for Microsoft

Web site: http://www.microsoft.com/

About PR Newswire
Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

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