Microsoft France wanted to make a splash with its Windows 11 launch. They drafted NBA All-Star Tony Parker to help

25 April 2023 | By Justin Kirkland, Copywriter

Tony Parker holding a tablet showing windows 11 OS

When it comes to operating systems, Microsoft Windows has been a mainstay for PC users for decades. And when it comes to sports, the same could be said for French American basketball legend Tony Parker. But like most reliable standbys, it’s often easy to forget what’s available to you once it’s become a fixture in your life. That’s the challenge that Microsoft faced in France when they launched their new operating system (OS), Windows 11. How can you get an audience excited about a new version of an OS that is already a staple in the lives of PC users? You bring in a familiar face to share the news.

“Tony Parker has talked about his childhood and how he has grown up with Windows all around him: the Windows ‘green hill,’ the sounds, MSN,” said Diane Fabre, retail partner executive at Microsoft. He was a natural fit when Microsoft went looking for an influencer who could add a personal connection to the launch of Windows 11. Beginning in Q4 2022, Microsoft worked with Amazon Ads to develop a three-stage campaign that paired the legacy of Parker’s 20-year career alongside Windows’ history and the benefits of the new OS, launching key parts of the campaign on Twitch and Fire TV. The campaign had two main objectives: increase awareness of Windows 11, and support sales in France – all through the lens of nostalgia and familiarity.

The challenge of the already known

Before releasing Windows 11, Microsoft knew that it would be a challenge to drum up interest. Despite boasting plenty of new features that Microsoft wanted to promote, they also understood that Windows 11 wasn’t the most anticipated release that they’ve released; with no major operational changes or functional shifts, the launch wasn’t as flashy as past roll-outs.

To rise to the challenge, Microsoft reached out to the Amazon Ads team and developed a campaign idea. Together, the two would identify a known personality and craft a tailored influencer campaign, bolstering the strategy with premium media placements to support visibility.

When selecting a famous face for the campaign, Microsoft knew that they wanted to find someone who could speak to all generations, as well as someone who was seen as a role model and successful businessperson. In short, who would be a good person to exemplify all the potential that Microsoft’s new OS had to offer? The key objectives Microsoft wanted to achieve were five-pronged: increase brand awareness in France; grow year-over-year OS purchases by 10%; engage with non-tech audiences; provide an authentic backstory; and use Parker’s involvement to increase KPIs including video views, click-through rate and video completion rate (VCR).

How a personal story can be universal

After enlisting the former San Antonio Spur Tony Parker, Microsoft moved forward with their three-stage plan. The first stage, launching in October 2022, would be a 10-second video of Parker announcing an exclusive interview between him and Windows to be broadcast on Twitch and Fire TV. The second stage launched on interview day – when released, Microsoft booked the hero: the main placement of the gateway on The video itself was hosted on a custom landing page. The final stage, after release, consisted of 30-second clips cut from the larger conversation. Those clips showcased the benefits of Windows, and focused on individual audiences and how they might use the OS (such as cloud gaming or Teams). Importantly, this third stage of the campaign ensured that those videos redirected to Windows 11–compatible PC deals during Black Friday.

The key to the campaign hinged on Parker’s interview, a 26-minute conversation that relied on Parker’s personal story with basketball and Windows to make an emotional connection with audiences. “He was able to talk about how he uses Windows in new ways as a businessman but also as a father, with Windows x Xbox Cloud Gaming,” Fabre, the retail partner executive, added. The campaign instantly caught the attention of staff working on the campaign, with Fabre noting that some of their PC OEM partners noticed the campaign and asked if they could integrate their brand in the campaign.

Using a familiar face in an authentic way

The results of the campaign were a massive win for Windows. The campaign reached 10.3 million in audience (equal to about one-sixth of the French population).1 The video used in Sponsored Display had a VCR of 85% (15% above the 70% benchmark).2 The custom landing page registered 39K unique visitors, out of which 45% watched more than 6 minutes and 30 seconds of the interview (the 25% mark).3 Moreover, Amazon Ads compared banners displaying Parker to previous campaigns run by Microsoft – the new campaign showed an uplift of 60% compared to similar placements from previous campaigns.4

During the campaign, 25% of the searches for Windows PC on were Windows-compatible, and the sales of €1.5 million of Windows 11–compatible devices were attributed to the launch.5

Learn more about how your brand can connect with audiences through Sponsored Display on Fire TV and Amazon DSP.

1–5 Amazon internal data, FR, 2022