Microsoft Office 2007 recognizes more dinky-di words.
Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Its Microsoft Office is the most widely-used productivity software in Australia. As many PC users tend to have an earlier version of Office already installed on their computer, Microsoft wanted an idea for differentiating the 2007 edition in a way that would make it more user friendly and also generate consumer demand.
While Office does feature a rather comprehensive Australian spelling option, based on the Macquarie dictionary, it became evident that quite a few commonly used Aussie words were being left out. Words such as “sickie”, “”ridgy-didge” and “jackaroo” were repeatedly flagged on our computer screens as misspellings, featuring the annoying red squiggle beneath them. We approached the Office 2007 development team about the possibility of adding a selection of new Aussie words. Once we got the okay, it was time to determine what words would make the cut.
The team called together a panel of leading experts on Australian language to help make the selection. Members of the media, academia and entertainment industry were selected based on their love of linguistics, knowledge of the Australian language and their propensity to bring awareness to the campaign. Tasked with narrowing down the possibilities to 25 words, the panel event kicked off the Great Aussie Words Debate. All of the words had to fit certain guidelines, including: nothing offensive, no rare or archaic words and no regional words (that is, only used in Melbourne or Brisbane, for example).
Once the 25 chosen words were chosen, the results were launched to the public via TV, radio, newspapers and mainstream consumer media. To encourage audience participation and prolong momentum, we followed up the debate with a call to action, asking all Australians to vote online for their favorite ‘Aussie’ word. Twenty words were later released and ultimately incorporated into the software.
More than 25,000 votes were registered in the first six weeks that the voting was open. Aussie Words achieved more 171 pieces of positive coverage through its various phases and the team achieved eleven top stories against a target of four. The campaign received a Gold Award in the Microsoft Newshound awards for best creative idea and was recognized by Microsoft Corporate PR as a worldwide best practice campaign. The idea has since been introduced in New Zealand, Canada and the UK, with the UK rolling out their own version of British Words.