Microsoft Taps Welsh Singer, Local Eatery for E3

To attract the swarm of international media types that descend on Los Angeles for E3, Microsoft had Welsh singer Duffy perform at its media briefing, and created a nearby lounge where visitors could unwind.

By Rosalba Curiel July 18, 2008, 1:42 PM EDT

Welsh singer Duffy performed during the media presentation.

Photo: Nadine Froger Photography

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Microsoft hosted a press briefing and series of post-conference events at this year’s E3 Media and Business Summit, which kept the invitation-only formula it adopted last year. But Microsoft ditched Barker Hanger and Santa Monica hotels as show venues—perhaps because of the widely reported trouble attendees experienced while traveling between spots—and returned to its previous location, the Los Angeles Convention Center. Zed Ink's Julia Zarro worked with Microsoft group manager of global events Mark Harper to attract media attendees to the technology company’s events.

Prior to the conference, which began on Monday and wrapped yesterday, Zed Ink targeted international and domestic media with multipurpose invitations attached to lanyards; the backs of invitations featured scannable barcodes that granted guests access to Microsoft’s press briefing, while a swiveling wheel on the front of each revealed useful information about local restaurants and hotels.


For Microsoft’s Monday press briefing for 1,200 guests, Zarro and her team set up bleachers in an amphitheater-like style within the convention center, as well as a stage for the presentation. On stage, Welsh singer Duffy performed—planners felt she had a global appeal suitable for the diverse audience—while a central high-definition screen and two 60- by 30-foot side screens showcased Xbox game demos and game still shots simultaneously.

Those who needed a break from the conference’s presentations could visit nearby Ciudad restaurant, which Zarro converted into an Xbox lounge. During the day, the space was used for interviews with Microsoft executives, or just as a place to relax, and at night it took on what Zarro called an “ultimate living room” feel with plasma screens depicting different Xbox games every night, shifting lighting patterns decorating the space, and music playing throughout the evening.


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