Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

More Microsoft Ad Campaign Missteps

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Oh Microsoft.  You have so much money.  Why is it all of your ad campaigns make you look like a grumpy old dinosaur, a complete dick or a bad politician?


Of course this all started with the ill-fated Seinfeld campaign which made the mistake of putting Bill Gates in front of a camera for comedic effect.  The commercials made me wonder, “Why would I trust these guys’ opinions about computers? They seem really out of touch.”

Then there was the “I’m a PC” campaign which banked on the underwhelming selling point of “Look! Macs might be cool but some people also use PCs.”

Then there was the mildly misleading “Laptop Hunters” campaign to show that PCs are cheaper than Macs.  And that, given $1000 and a script, a paid actor would choose an inferior PC over a Mac.  You can read about it here and here and (my personal favorite) here, where a filmmaker chooses to edit video on a PC.  Interesting choice.  And as always, all of these ads were made on Macs.

But you were just getting warmed up!


The Plot Thickens

Monday, September 22nd, 2008
what are you doing, steve?

what are you doing, Steve?

Over the weekend, a lot of dirty laundry was aired about Microsoft’s anti-Apple campaign, including:

  1. The entire campaign was created on Macs, as evidenced by metadata scraped from some of the ad campaign’s photos.
  2. The ad agency behind the campaign, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, was profiled a few months ago on Apple’s Pro site as being fanatical Apple users.
  3. Microsoft’s Mojave experiment — designed to convince users to take another look at Vista — apparently fudged a lot of its numbers.
  4. The Times quote that Microsoft uses on all of their campaigns, ‘Windows Vista is beautiful,’ was apparently taken out of the context of a highly critical David Pogue article, in which he talks about how clunky the OS is and how most of the interface was ripped off from Apple.
  5. RoughlyDrafted wrote a concise, chilling rebuttal to Paul Thurrott calling Apple ‘the Bad Guys’ and ‘liars’ for exposing Vista’s flaws (which brings up a very good point — could Microsoft possibly make the argument that MacOS has huge flaws?  I’d like to see that one.)

All of this adds up to what looks like a huge embarrassment for Microsoft.

Poor Maligned Little PC

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

My pre-emptive response to the next phase of Microsoft’s ad campaign:

It comes in regular and extra-snarky:

Crispin Porter + Bogusky

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

Ok.  It’s now been generally accepted that Microsoft’s Seinfeld-powered ad campaign was a major bust (although to give them a small amount of credit, the edited version of commercial 2 was better than the full 4:30 disaster).

This morning I thought it’s perhaps time to get to the bottom of this: which ad firm has the monumental task of trying to make Microsoft look cool.

The answer? Crispin Porter + Bogusky. Apparently the go-to people for when your company is completely out of touch but you want to be perceived as being ‘with it.’ (you can read more about them on Ajax Blog)

While I have to say they’ve been doing a pretty pathetic job on the Microsoft campaign so far, I was at least curious enough to check out what else they’d done.  Turns out many things.  This was my favorite:

I hadn’t seen that round of VW commercials — the only ones I’ve seen are the talking car/brooke shields ones which are not as funny.

So they can do something right, I guess.  We’ll have to wait and see how the Microsoft campaign goes.  I can’t imagine any other outcome than the commercials being kind of ok — at best — but mostly serving as an excellent set up for a hilarious Apple counter-attack.

A Microsft engineer who looks like John Hodgeman whining about how ‘I’m a PC and I’ve been made into a stereotype’? Come on!  Does it get any easier than that?

BTW – Apple’s market share is up to 10.6% in North America.

Microsoft Has Gone Senile

Friday, September 12th, 2008

The second installment of Microsoft’s pro-Vista (and secretly anti-‘Get a Mac’.  possibly VERY secretly) ad campaign emerged from the bowels of the beast today, after the first commercial came out last week.

I don’t even know what to say.

The uncut version of this one is 4:30.  It’s not really funny at all.  It doesn’t say anything about their product.  It’s a truly awful commercial — one that makes Microsoft honestly seem even more out of touch with their consumers than I had thought before I watched this commercial.

Try it.  See for yourself.

It just feels like watching a train wreck.  Of a train filled entirely with octogenarians.

What on earth are they thinking?

I think we should start placingbets on whether the next one will make even less sense.

Microsoft talks a little here about how these commercials are just icebreakers.  And that they have done their job by just getting even negative attention:

When you set out to create advertising, the thing that keeps you up at night is not “Will some people not get it or like it?”

Rather its “Will anyone pay any attention and notice”? I think we can safely check that box. Oscar Wilde’s quote on the subject may be overused, but it’s good to keep in mind when thinking about marketing products that can get taken for granted in today’s crowded media landscape: “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”

So by that logic, McCain’s negative campaign ads are just adding to Obama’s brand recognition!  He’ll be elected for sure!

It just doesn’t make any sense to me.  Really.  Unless this is some super old- or new-school ad campaign philosophy:  ‘If people think your product sucks, make commercials that suck too!  Then people won’t be confused!’  or maybe Microsoft has some secret deal where they make money when people stop using their software.

But in all seriousness… there are a few holes in this argument for me.  Namely — it’s not like people haven’t heard of Microsoft Vista.  They just don’t like it.  These commercials do nothing for me than make me continue hating Vista (before I’ve even tried it, mind you.  I’ve never used Vista.  I know I’m not alone in this sentiment.) and think that Microsoft is out of seriously out of touch if they believe a campaign like this will in any way help their case — even if it’s just getting a ‘tap on the shoulder’

Plus that guy from Microsoft is so smug in his response.  It’s hard not to disagree with him the moment one starts reading.

My answer remains: Get a Mac

New Microsoft Ads

Friday, September 5th, 2008

Have you seen the new Microsoft ads?  The first one of the nearly $300 million campaign featuring Jerry Seinfeld aired last night (I caught it somewhere in one of the Daily Show’s commercial breaks).

One word: LAME.

Jerry helps Bill Gates buy a pair of shoes.  They mention Microsoft one time.  That’s all that happens.  The whole thing seems like they’re trying to be funny, but it was decidedly not.  No matter how hard Jerry tries, he can’t make the ultimate nerd, Bill Gates, seem anything other than embarrassingly quirky and introverted.

According to an internal memo from Microsoft VP Bill Veghte:

The first phase of this campaign is designed to engage consumers and spark a new conversation about Windows – a conversation that will evolve as the campaign progresses, but will always be marked by humor and humanity.

So far the conversation my girlfriend and I have had on the subject was, ‘My god that sucked.’  But we talked about it right?  I guess their plan is working.

This whole thing is part of Microsoft’s new strategy (backed by their pseudo-science ‘experiment’ The Mojave Project) to fix Vista not with innovations and patches, but with an ad campaign:

‘Vista: It’s really not as bad it you think it is.’

I don’t think that’s their actual copy, but that’s the idea.  Win the hearts and minds of millions by convincing them that the best you have to offer is not nearly as bad as they thought it was.

It’s kind of like the platform the Republicans are running on.

My response to all of this?  Get a Mac.