Where the Microsoft ads go from here: Head-on at Apple

“Hello, I’m a PC, and I’ve been made into a stereotype,” a man in a brown suit who looks an awfully lot like actor John Hodgman from Apple’s “PC vs. Mac” commercials, says into the camera. This is the next phase of Microsoft’s $300 million advertising campaign.

We already knew that the new ads, due to start rolling out tomorrow, won’t have comedian Jerry Seinfeld in them. But now we’re starting to get a little more information about where Microsoft and its news advertising agency Crispin Porter + Bugosky will take them, thanks to a story due in tomorrow’s New York Times.

Coming head-on at Apple’s ads which have spent the past few years belittling Windows is a good approach, I think. Certainly, it’s more interesting than ads about nothing featuring Seinfeld. But Microsoft has to be careful not to over-do them. The company finds itself in an underdog position of sorts for the first time in a long while, but public sentiment could swiftly shift to seem like they are bullying Apple if they push the ads too far.

It doesn’t seem like that will happen though. Instead, Microsoft may have one ad kind of like the PC vs. Mac one and several other different ones — including commercials features author Deepak Chopra, singer Pharrell Williams and actress Eva Longoria. Without having seen any of the ads, I’m not sure about the celebrity approach — it didn’t work too well with Seinfeld — but, it does appeal to a large audience, which Microsoft has, and needs to reconnect with.

Some of the ads apparently will focus on Windows pride. They will show regular people using PCs for their tasks. There also will apparently be appearances by Microsoft employees — and oddly, their email addresses. I guess the idea is to show them as real people too, but that just seems to be asking for trouble. Even Bill Gates will showcase his email address, apparently.

The new campaigns theme will be “Windows. Life without walls.” And a website has already been set up for it.

I’m very interested to see where Microsoft takes this tomorrow. From description alone, it already sounds more intriguing than having Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld do nothing in some commercials. I’m still waiting to see that commercial by famed French director Michel Gondry as well.

[photo: via NYT]


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