Case Study: Microsoft Advertising

Design Leadership, Creative Direction, Digital Marketing, Design Production, Client Management, Team Leadership, Account Growth

Agency: In-House | Role: Global Creative Director

Pioneering geo-specific teams and processes: a giant leap in high-value advertising

The Premier Media Group, AKA PMG (now Microsoft Advertising), was entrusted with high-value advertising deals, each one scaling to multi-millions in value. These deals were not only lucrative but also intricate, spanning across various geographical markets utilizing Microsoft's range of proprietary advertising products. A complex bundle of products and services, providing a customised solution for high-value clients.

The group being headquartered in Redmond posed a substantial operational hurdle. The time difference meant that deals and communications outside of North America often had an overnight wait for a response—a suboptimal situation for managing client relationships of any value, and a point of frustration highlighted to me when I was first approached about the role.

The creative strategies devised by the PMG team in Redmond often failed to echo the cultural and creative sensibilities across EMEA. This disconnect necessitated a critical re-evaluation of the creative approach to better align with the diverse in-market cultural nuances.


A pivotal decision was made to establish teams specifically dedicated to the EMEA and APAC markets. This geographical extension was aimed at facilitating real-time interactions with clients and understanding market-specific tastes.

The inception of these geo-specific teams demanded the implementation of new processes and systems, and this structural change was fundamental in ensuring smooth operations across different time zones and cultural landscapes.

To resonate better with in-market sensibilities, I noticed the creation of sales materials that acknowledged and catered to regional preferences was also urgently required.

Finally, I identified technical discrepancies across market-specific platforms. So I introduced tailored solutions in sales, design, and product launch phases to accommodate these technical and cultural differences.

💰 $40M

Advertising revenue generated from a new product launch

🤝 70+

Large team, spread across multiple geographic regions

🥇 Firsts

Multiple industry and platform firsts for brands including Ancestry, Specsavers and Sony Ericsson

🎯 Growth

Process and standards developed to ensure round-the-clock, world-class creative innovation


Microsoft recognised the need for expertise and headhunted me to spearhead this transformation. My 24 month mandate was to orchestrate the setup of proficient teams and processes, essentially rendering my position redundant upon the successful execution of this objective.

As a creative specialist, I played a pivotal role in a product launch that accrued over $40 million USD* on launch. The new product was the Themepack (later renamed to Personal Expressions) advertising product for Windows Live Messenger. My adept understanding of this product later led to me facilitating the delivery of "brown bag" training workshops to multiple sales teams across EMEA, and advising external agencies on crafting successful creative campaigns.

My efforts across testing, vetting, and onboarding third-party creative vendors across EMEA, ensured a high standard of creative output.

The creative concepts and demos I developed were instrumental in securing accounts typically valued at $24 million+ USD*, winning over clients like Warner Bros., Ancestry, Sony Walkman, Reebok, and Adidas with innovative creative approaches, always presented as high-fidelity, interactive demos - showing their brand or product, in-situ on the Microsoft product, platform or website.

I initiated and refined design operations processes, promoting alignment across teams in EMEA and APAC, and facilitating seamless collaboration with our partners in Redmond.

My expertise was also leveraged in managing launch campaigns for Windows Vista and Xbox 360 across Microsoft MSN Advertising platforms throughout EMEA, marking a significant milestone in bridging the operational and creative divide that initially posed a challenge.

Global brands

My new processes, teams and creative concepts significantly enriched the advertising endeavours of eminent global brands, setting a benchmark in the realm of geo-specific advertising. The meticulous establishment of dedicated teams and streamlined processes was instrumental in aligning the advertising strategies with the distinct cultural and market nuances of the EMEA and APAC regions.

Brands such as Adidas, Xbox, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Sony Ericsson, EA, Mini, Virgin Money, Ancestry, and Disneyland Paris immensely benefited from this tailored approach. Notably, the innovative advertising campaigns devised for the Xbox 360 launch and Warner Bros. (Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire), found emotional resonance with regional audiences, driving enhanced engagement and brand affinity.

Likewise, Adidas and Sony Ericsson witnessed a significant uplift in brand visibility and consumer interaction across these regions. The collaborative efforts with Virgin Money, Ancestry, and Disneyland Paris underscored the versatility and effectiveness of the geo-specific advertising strategies in catering to diverse sectors, from finance to entertainment. Through this endeavor, a bespoke advertising pathway was carved out, facilitating these global brands in resonating better with local audiences, thereby broadening their market reach and amplifying their advertising ROI​​​​​​​.

A collection of brand logos including Disneyland Paris, Xbox, Warner Bros., Virgin Money, Ancestry, Adidas, Sony Ericsson, Mini, EA Games and 20th Century Fox


My creative journey during this time underlined the importance of geographical and cultural cognisance in managing high-value advertising deals for me. Something I still find myself brining to the table to this day. ​​​​​​​The strategic expansion into EMEA and APAC markets, coupled with the infusion of fresh processes and creative approaches, paved the way for enhanced operational efficiency and client satisfaction.

Microsoft Advertising
Alia Lachana, Senior Manager International Business Operations
" Adam is a highly energetic professional who ads tremendous value to every relationship he makes with others.

He is a customer focused strategist always ready to put all his energy and creativity, plus his impressive in-depth understanding of current trends and technology, to get the job done "
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