18
Sep
08

Microsoft’s new ad campaign: case study in starting online controversy Pt.2

DISCLAIMER: I’m still contracting at Microsoft, so take what I say with a grain of salt 🙂 I’m still also a fan of Windows.

So Seinfeld got dropped from the ads. No surprise really. With an ad campaign basically saying “Yeh, so we’re out of touch” which really did nothing except celebrating being out of touch, the writing was on the wall. Jerry was an interesting choice for a number of reasons, not the least because he was featured in an Apple ad back in the day, but really, he had to go.

However, his departure does not necessarily make this campaign a failure. It is still generating so much conversation and controversy, which still appears to be a good thing – all eyes are firmly focused on Microsoft at the moment. Are they f–kin up, or are they doing something completely crazy and new? Whether dropping Jerry was a planned planned tactic or not, Microsoft is:

  1. Once again the centre of attention right now
  2. Showing that it is adaptive. Some people think the ads sucked. What better way to tell your customers you are listening than to change the campaign to suit?

I still reserve judgment about whether this is a good campaign or not because as I have mentioned I don’t know where the campaign’s going. But every time any little details about the campaign come out, it’s hitting TechCrunch, Engadget and most of the other popular news sites, aswell as a good number of the Apple blogs and fansites (eg/ TUAW), so leveraging that momentum and attention is going to be critical.

Image from Engadget

Rumours reported on Engadget suggest there may be a more direct reaction by Microsoft to Apple’s aggressive “I’m a Mac” campaigns in the future releases. This is actually what I have wanted to see from the start. There is alot of (borderline) misinformation in the Mac ads (less than technical people have told me Macs can’t get viruses and can’t crash, so from that perspective, the ads seem to be working somewhat). 

This is a perfect battleground for Microsoft to take back some of what was theirs. They really need to address the damage the “I’m a Mac” ads did. I’m envisioning guys in fluoro Spandex roller blading through Central Park in NY doing crazy extreme stuff like going backwards (sic – I’m being sarcastic there in case that didn’t come across) and giving high fives to each other and generally being trendy dicks. All listening to white headphones (for the vision impaired and slightly slow, iPod has white headphones) Fade out. Product shot of Zune.  No B.S. – thats Microsoft. Thats what I’d be doing…

EDIT – 19/9/08: Third ad in the campaign, minus Jerry, has been seen at Gizmodo. It’s not bad, really it’s not. Without being too combatitive, it definitely moves towards dispelling the nerdy image Apple branded MS with. Tony Parker is in there. Tony Parker’s the man. And he’s a PC!

EDIT 2 – 19/09/08: Wow, talk about saturation bombing!! The following PC / Windows ads went live on US TV tonight (PST)

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=HrmF-mPLybw

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=7hhVjSbV_oQ

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=wj5UyZKo2iE 

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2 Responses to “Microsoft’s new ad campaign: case study in starting online controversy Pt.2”


  1. September 18, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    I must say this is a great article i enjoyed reading it keep the good work 🙂

  2. September 19, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    These new ads are even cooler than the old ones with Jerry. Even though I enjoyed ads with Jerry and Bill G, I feel that the new ads convey more substance.


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