Microsoft jumps on World Cup bandwagon

The 2006 FIFA World Cup starts next week, but Microsoft's promotional blitz is already underway.

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If there's one event in 2006 that can undoubtedly be classified as a 'marketing dream', it's the FIFA World Cup. All over the world companies are rushing to cash in on the hype that surrounds the biggest sporting event on the planet. The games industry is by no means shy of following this trend, and Microsoft is the latest company to throw its hat into the ring.

The company is releasing a new Xbox 360 bundle for £259.99 ($485.84) which includes a Core console, FIFA World Cup faceplate, Electronic Arts' 2006 FIFA World Cup game, and a replica football. Also, the video of the official England World Cup song--'World at Your Feet' by Embrace--will be available for download via Xbox Live until June 2.

It adds to the promotions Microsoft has already penned in, including a link-up with drinks giant Britvic to give away an Xbox 360 every 90 minutes during the World Cup itself. On top of that, they've also commissioned a special football microsite launching soon on the Xbox Web site, with news leading up to and during the event.

The link-up follows research by Britvic that suggests 42 percent of people in England are more likely to buy a product if it features the England crest--which goes some way to explaining why so many businesses are desperate to get in on the act.

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