Free Time Machine | Microsoft | Work

Case Studies

2012

Free Time Machine

Challenge

Microsoft and Nokia were playing catch up. They were launching the Lumia 900 to open a third front in the smartphone wars that had been dominated by Google and Apple. Their new phone had it all – killer design and an amazing operating system, all at an affordable price. People who tried it, loved it. But Microsoft and Nokia were entering one of the most competitive markets on earth. They needed to generate a metric ton of fanfare and get consumers hands’ on the device to make them rethink their smartphone choices.

Solution

We realized that the phone's key feature – an innovative operating system that gets users to the stuff they care about faster – could be boiled down to something much more visceral: it's a machine that creates free time. So we built five larger-than-life Free-Time Machines and dropped them in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. The FTMs were seven-foot-high exact replicas of the phones with working touchscreens. After a brief demo with a real Lumia 900, consumers could interact with the FTM and select a timesaving prize, like $100 in dog walking services, or having us wait in line for them at Shake Shack. Relevent created and managed a 360-campaign around the activation. We built the hardware and software for the Free-Time Machines; secured locations and prizes; hired and trained a staff of 60 Free-Time Engineers; managed celebrity appearances; activated radio and guerrilla pre-promotion; and crafted a digital/social strategy. And we did it all in less than six weeks.

The activation generated over 25,000 product demos and 500 million media impressions. #freetimemachine was an organic trending topic on Twitter on launch day, and the Lumia 900 topped Amazon’s sales charts the week of the event.

Visionary

Daring

Ridiculously fast