updated 06:20 pm EDT, Mon March 19, 2012
Thom Gruhler becomes Windows Phone marketing VP
Microsoft hoped to turn around its mobile strategy on Monday with word it had hired Thom Gruhler to become its Corporate VP of Windows Phone Marketing. He was leaving a position as the managing partner for technology at major ad agency McCann Worldgroup. As part of his history, he's best known for running the team that developed Verizon's "can you hear me now?" TV ads as well as work with Sony Ericsson.
In explaining the jump, Gruhler in a statement said that Windows Phone was "starting to turn heads in a very competitive market." To him, that was a sign there was a product to stand behind and from which he could build.
"When you put a Windows Phone into someone's hands they love it, which is the ideal place to start as a marketer," Gruhler said. "I'm looking forward to working with the team to build consumer awareness and excitement for Windows Phone products and the overall brand."
The new hire comes at a time when Microsoft's smartphone performance is at a low point. It has just 1.5 percent of the market as many of those who had previously been Windows Mobile loyalists have left for Android or the iPhone rather than opt for Windows Phone. Nokia has been an injection of life into Windows Phone, but it hasn't fully countered problems at virtually every other Windows Phone manufacturer.
Microsoft has been investing large amounts of marketing money into Windows Phone. It's believed to have invested $500 million just in the fall 2010 ad blitz for Windows Phone and may have devoted over $100 million just to US launches for early 2012, such as the Nokia Lumia 900. Hiring one of the industry's top advertisers is a tacit acknowledgment that previous campaigns had failed, especially as Apple and individual Android supporters may have paid considerably less at times than Microsoft to a greater effect.