Madonna's Grammy-winning song "Ray of Light" is the theme for Microsoft's advertising campaign for Windows XP, which the company toned down after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but still promoted as

Madonna's Grammy-winning song "Ray of Light" is the theme for Microsoft's advertising campaign for Windows XP, which the company toned down after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but still promoted as its biggest pitch since Windows 95.

A line from the upbeat song sets the pace: "Faster than the speeding light she's flying..."

"You soar," bright white letters read. "Yes you can."

Microsoft's 60-second TV spot, which began airing yesterday (Oct. 15), begins with a guy leaping through a green field and then lifting off into a sunny sky -- a landscape lifted from Windows XP's default "bliss screen." Then there's a series of images of people using Windows XP for real-time communications, to collaborate in an airy restaurant, to relay digital images of flying people, watch video, listen to music, and more.

The campaign was reworked after the terrorist attacks; the tag line changed from "Prepare to fly" to "Yes you can," to sidestep new concerns about air travel, said Stephanie Ferguson, director of the company's PC Experience Solutions Marketing Group.

Microsoft's use of "Ray of Light" -- which won the Grammy for best dance recording in 1998, while the album of the same name won for best pop album -- follows the company's use of the Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up" in advertising launching the Windows 95 operating system. Microsoft reportedly paid $12 million for the use of the Stones' song; the cost of using "Ray" has not been disclosed.

In other Madonna news, a T-shirt worn during the diva's recently completed Drowned World Tour will be auctioned Oct. 22 in London by Christie's. The sale of the shirt and other celebrity items will benefit the Cancer and Leukemia in Childhood charity. The organization works to provide free accommodations in London for families with a child undergoing treatment.

Also due to be auctioned is a black suit from Sir Elton John, sunglasses worn by Bono in U2's "Elevation" video, and a green embroidered gown designed and worn to the Oscars by Donatella Versace.


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