Microsoft Spearheads Windows 8 Retail Campaign

Paul Lilly

As you navigate big box retailers like Best Buy this holiday shopping season, you're going to notice a uniform marketing drive when it comes to pushing Windows 8 PCs to the masses. In the U.S., you'll find Windows 8 systems configured to show emails, photos, and personal contacts from Allison Brown, a fictional character Microsoft created as part of an effort to humanize Windows 8 and to put the "personal" back into personal computers. In essence, Microsoft is flipping the script and telling retailers how to run their operations.

With every previous Windows release, it's been up to retailers to decide how to market, setup, and ultimately sell systems. But with so much at stake, both for Microsoft and the PC industry as a whole, Microsoft is telling stores how to deliver their sales pitch and how to demo Windows 8 PCs, The Wall Street Journal reports .

Allison Brown is a direct reflection of that. She's a made-up identity that we noticed when glossing over Windows 8 laptops at a local Best Buy, and you're going to see her, too. Part of the challenge for Microsoft is convincing Windows users that change is a good thing.

"There may be more angst for customers because of the lack of familiarity," Jason Bonfig, Best Buy's VP for Computing, told WSJ. "Our staff is there to coach them through it."

At Best Buy, there will be an "experience" tablet plopped at the front of the store. Workers will demo the features on Windows 8 on various devices, nearly a third of which will be equipped with touchscreen displays.

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