The first Microsoft teaser ad with Gates and Seinfeld didn’t leave me shouting ‘Wow!’. The second one was a bit better, if longer and slightly protracted. What you need to know is that there are going to be many, many more – but not with Seinfeld. For now, he’s going to be kept on the back-burner and apparently we’re going to see the likes of Eva Longoria, Deepak Chopra and Pharrell Williams advocating Microsoft instead. All of these people are just a small part of a much larger campaign that Microsoft has set in motion to buffer Apple and their ‘I’m a PC‘ ads that poke fun at the software giant. As I wrote those words – software giant – I realised that when I think software, I still think Microsoft and Windows. Apple only really comes to mind when I think of fancy gadgets. (Google would be a different monolith altogether). And Microsoft has clearly taken the stance that they want to go head-to-head with Apple, not Google, through this campaign, ‘without taking them through the mud’.
Anyway, ‘life without walls‘, the theme of the campaign, is soon going to be taken to the next level by allowing users to submit photos depicting the idea that they too are PCs (the new Microsoft-defined PC’s though) on windows.com, some of which will be chosen to be displayed on electronic banners on Times Square, and others on Microsoft web banners.
And that’s only the beginning of their new marketing journey. Read more here.
Clearly, this is a strategy that is so tightly tailored to ending, or continuing rather, the ‘PC-not PC’ war, that I can’t help but wonder if in all that planning, they’ve forgotten that Apple’s not really their only competitor. They have to go up against the bad name they created for themselves – that’s the bigger demon. Whether the increased number of web mentions of their campaign will get them the larger consumer base they’re looking for (or should be looking for) is questionable. For me, all this is just entertainment. At the end of the day, if the product isn’t friendly, I’m not going to use it, no matter what Seinfeld or Longoria say. And that’s the hard truth, $300 million campaign or not. Perhaps it would have been a more prudent strategy to come up with something creative that told me why Microsoft has now changed for the better, not why the phrase ‘I’m a PC’ is yours and not Apple’s. Apple may be fancier, but does that make their products better? If it does, you’ve got a problem, Seattle.