Microsoft calls in Nicholas Parsons to push Net venture

Microsoft has approached Nicholas Parsons, former question master of hit TV quiz show Sale of the Century, to launch its new Internet shopping channel.

A number of proposals are being considered by the software manufacturer to promote the November 4 launch of the channel on its MSN information site, a specially-developed high traffic site.

One plan includes the use of a picture of the TV celebrity on the Shopping Channel Web page, positioning Parsons as a “retail therapist” or “agony uncle” for shoppers looking to make Christmas purchases over the Internet.

Users would be invited to e-mail him to ask for advice about which Web sites they should visit in order to make essential Christmas purchases. The team at MSN would then e-mail the answers to their queries.

Microsoft has also suggested that Parsons could launch a shopping guide to the Internet.

Tom Bowman, director of Microsoft online sales, refused to comment on plans to use Parsons.

He says: “We are bringing together the best partners we can find with the broadest spread of products.”

Bowman refuses to say which household brand names have signed up to the channel. He claims they will include some which already appear on the MSN shopping directory. Brands such as Racing Green, the Internet Book Shop and Interflora already appear in the directory.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here