Microsoft airs first Surface ad as part of $1B Windows 8 marketing campaign

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Microsoft on Monday will kick off an advertising blitz for its Surface tablet, the software company's first-ever foray into the computer hardware making business, with a commercial set to air during ESPN's Monday Night Football.

First spotted by The Verge, the commercial is part of Microsoft's huge $1 billion Windows 8 ad campaign, which began in earnest on Sunday ahead of the new operating system's launch on Oct. 26.

With the first Surface spot, Microsoft focused on the "clicking" noise made when a user attaches the tablet's magnetic keyboard-cum-cover, as well as the soft snapping sound heard when the unit's kickstand is opened and closed. The commercial is more of an introduction to the device than a spec-heavy listing of features, perhaps meant as a first step to acclimate consumers to the idea that Microsoft is now entering the hardware market.

Taking more than a little inspiration from successful iPod commercials, the ad features a troupe of dancers who manipulate the device to create a drum break-like beat that slowly builds to a crescendo of feverish clicking and snapping.

Not much is shown off in the way of device specs, or even the ARM-based Windows RT version of Microsoft's new operating system powering the Surface. There are a few glimpses of the homescreen and a few live tiles, but the commercial is mostly a teaser.

Earlier in October, Microsoft started a guerrilla marketing campaign close to a Chicago area Apple Store, drawing "graffiti style" Surface representations on the brick wall of a nearby car washing establishment.

Along with the new Surface commercial, Microsoft also announced the Xbox Music service, a direct competitor to Apple's iTunes that will be available on Windows 8 PCs, Windows Phone 8 and the Xbox 360.

The Redmond, Washington, company is scheduled to launch Windows 8 alongside alongside the ARM-powered version of its Surface tablet on Oct. 26.