Microsoft approves Blue Monster wine

It’s ironic that, a couple of days after the head of Mozilla Europe castigated Microsoft’s attitude to Open Source and innovation in a TechCrunch interview, Microsoft today launches its own-label wine designed to promote innovation inside the company.

The FT has the story today of how Brit blogger, cartoonist and ‘Marketing 2.0’ guy Hugh Macleod, and Steve Clayton, chief technology officer at Microsoft’s UK Partner Group managed to convince the higher-ups that the Redmond giant had to start getting a bit groovier. Clayton has been at the forefront of the “Blue Monster” movement, which promotes a more open attitude to geeks and tech for Ballmer’s baby. Steve uses the image on his business card and is the administrator of the Friends of Blue Monster Facebook group.

To this end they’ve created the Blue Monster Reserve, exclusively for Microsoft and its employees. I understand the pair also had some spiritual support from Microsoft’s PR group Edelman, which committed to buying some bottles off Stormhoek. Microsoft is not bank-rolling the wine, but has given its approval for the label to go out. Alas, the wine will only be available to people who belong to the Friends of Blue Monster Facebook group, and geek dinners we’re attending and/or sponsoring. Booo!

As the FT points out, own-label wine and personalised bottles have become increasingly popular in the corporate world, but usually the labels are corporate logos, not cartoons promoting an essentially dissident view from within the firm’s own employees.

Ultimately it’s essentially a bit of fun, designed to get Microsoft people thinking about how they can really “change the world”. Ah, how sweet.

Marketing 2.0 fans will note with interest Hugh’s description of the wine as “a social object“, an idea first put forward by Jyri Engestrom.

Plus, Hugh figured the “cartoon would look really cool on a bottle.”