A Zune Marketing Tactic That May Be Almost As Effective As Catering To Bloggers

Jun 13th, 2007 // 33 Comments

An A.V. Club reader unearths a shocking new trend in house parties:

A party was going on a few doors down from my friend’s apartment complex in Minneapolis a few weeks ago. My friend said that she’d been invited to the party earlier in the day by the tenant of the apartment (with whom she was only a casual acquaintance) with promises of “Guitar Hero on the XBox360, great tunes coming from the Zune, and free beer.”

When we stopped by we found two dozen college students relaxing, drinking, playing Guitar Hero, in a room covered with posters for Microsoft’s mp3 player, the Zune. After some free social lubricant (MGD), the host told us the whole story: Microsoft paid him to host parties like this. As long as he documented the party with pictures, he was reimbursed for all the expenses and paid a little extra for his “trouble.” What sort of marketing is this? Does it happen with a lot of other mega-corporations? If so, how do I get such a sweet gig?

If any Idolator readers have hosted these parties, feel free to post your experiences below–we promise to only snicker at you for a few seconds, honest. Especially if you used your money on better beer than MGD. (Also: Maybe this guy should offer up his place, so he can get a little bit of beer money out of the deal?)

The Dirty Underground World Of Zune Parties? [AV Club]
Earlier: Never Let It Be Said That Zune Doesn’t Take Care Of Its Fans

  1. Dan Gibson

    Dear Microsoft Overlords,

    If you cough up the cash for better beer, and possibly some mixed drinks, I am available for your blatantly promotional party hosting.


  2. Ted Striker


    P.S. MGD? Seriously? Everyone knows that the cool hipsters drink Pabst now.

  3. Hyman Decent

    @Ted Striker: Microsoft is targeting the uncool dork demographic.

  4. Vince Neilstein

    @Ted Striker: Puh-LEESE: Pabst is SO over. It’s all about the RHEINGOLD now.

  5. janine

    @Ted Striker: only if now is 6 years ago

  6. Catbirdseat

    Dude, yeah, I totally attended a “virtual” Zune Party like this at the “virtual” Max Fish on the “virtual lower east side.”


  7. emeryemeryemery

    Y’know, I would never use a Zune or anything because I run fruit-based hardware (APPL 4 LIFE) but if the installer screen shows you orgy pictures I might be willing to at least give it a try.

    (Damn. How have I not noticed that? It is so blatant. I’ve seen copies of Playboy that look more wholesome than that picture.)

  8. bedofnails

    @Vince Neilstein:

    RHEINGOLD was so last week, Stella Artois is the pegged jeans drink of choice.

  9. Dancomono

    Rock Star put together something along these lines for their Table Tennis title a while back. I was at at an art gallery, viewing a friend’s show, when I noticed a large table in the back covered in wristbands and keychains, and nearby several guys playing Xbox on a couch. Lo and behold, there was a mini-marketing party back there, with one very nonchalant dude explaining that they were on a tour, and this show was chosen as a stop. Marketing – throw a dart and the further it’s off target, the more you win. Well them, not us.

  10. mike a

    Let’s not forget Stag beer, which (to paraphrase Venom) comes from where Uncle Tupelo comes from.

    Didn’t Olympia beer have its hipster renaissance in the early ’90s? My Evergreen-educated wife has an “Oly Girl” patch from the now-sadly-defunct brewery in Tumwater.

  11. Lucas Jensen

    If PBR is unhip, why do I have such a big beer gut. It still rules the school in Athens, GA, another fairly hip town. And I thought Yuengling was the hot “new” Pabst anyway. Rheingold? Stella? Who the hell are you guys?

  12. Moonshine Mike

    @fishnotfried: In portland you can drink weinhard’s for cheap.

    High Life is the king. always has been, always will be.

  13. Anonymous

    Come spend a week in Portland and then try and tell me PBR is no longer cool or SO six years ago. If that’s the case, this whole damn city is completely un-hip, which I can assure you is not the case.

  14. Maura Johnston

    @riverrun: Seriously?

  15. mike a

    Please, beer marketers, let Yuengling be the next PBR. At the very least, I’d finally be able to find it out here in the Midwest. (As it stands, I make family members from Philly bring me bottles of Yuengling Lager when they visit.)

  16. DavidWatts

    I used to throw parties like this for Adult Swim. We got to have ours at bars, though, and they flew us up to the Adult Swim world headquarters a few times to get really drunk with your Aquateen and your Sealab creators. That Dave Willis is a dreamboat! Also throwing the parties was easy, and, yes, photo-taking was a key part. They can tell what you’re doing and they also put them in these little booklets they send to potential advertisers so they can be all “look at the hip youngsters who love us” and then they get a bag of money.

  17. MC

    lolz: what’s it say about zune marketing if the comments at a blog entry on zune degenerates into an argument of which beer is hipper?

  18. MC

    maybe zune should consider a branded microbrew?

  19. Paolo

    went to party at a friends store recently, and get this, we played guitar hero. They had zune stickers on the storefront outside, zune cups inside, and a zune bracket sheet for keeping score during the guitar hero tourny. At first i figured that zune sent my friend all this stuff in the course of his regular business. Then some guy whips out his zune, and asks me if I have “ever seen one of these?” I told him i had, and that I have heard universally bad things about it. When he got very defensive, asking me where I heard these things, etc…etc…I put two and two together, and realized he was here working in conjucture with zune. He told me as much later. And he talked up the zune all night, except no one was listening. It was all kinda gross.

  20. MC

    I know! Zune should form a partnership with Burnlounge and have one big douche-off!

  21. kiteless

    @mike a: agreed. yuengling in a can is not only drinkable, but dangerously delicious.

  22. KimPossible

    @Deadly Tango: Holy cow! It’s like I just re-lived my college years in that one paragraph! Was it Olympia that had the picture puzzles under the bottle caps?

    Good times…

  23. The Mozfather

    I’ll do it! But I live in Canada, so it’ll have to be a forty of Labatt 50.

  24. Twilly

    PBR is still the choice beverage for midwestern hipsters.

    I think the Zune parties should boast 40s of Steel Reserve and Cobra. THAT would be a party.

  25. parrotrunner


    no not seriously

  26. Hyman Decent

    @The Mozfather: Sorry, there is no uncool dork demographic in Canada.

  27. NickEddy

    I feel/smell a Zune/Zima dual relaunch!

  28. MTS

    Maura, remember when I told you about that fraternity party sponsored by Zune, like 2-3 months ago!?

  29. Deadly Tango

    @bedofnails (and others): Wait until the kiddies stumble upon Huber Bock, the pride of Monroe, Wisconsin … part of the fun is that no two bottles (even from the same case) ever taste quite the same. I suppose that’s kinda like the frustration of trying to experience “the social,” right?

    There’s a whole world of yellow, regional, one-time macro-brews for trucker-hat tools to discover — Lone Star, Schlitz, Schaefer, Red White & Blue, Schmidt’s, Knickerbocker, Rhinelander, Falstaff, Carling Black Label (look for the rebus under the cap), Grain Belt, Hamm’s, Blatz, and Olympia come to mind immediately.

    Disclosure / shameless self-promotion — I spent six years in the Badger State and maintain a beer and ale blog from time to time… amazingly, I beat Jay “Agony Shorthand / Detailed Twang” Hinman to the punch by nearly five months, though his publishing schedule absolutely crushes mine.

  30. parrotrunner

    How much is Zune paying Idolator for these postings?

  31. Raul23

    Nothing like getting Blatzed.

  32. Trackback

    Last week, it came out that Microsoft is offering to foot the bill for people willing to host intimate ‘Zune Parties’ in the comfort of their own apartments, dorm rooms, or wherever else song squirting may occur.

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