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Jerry Seinfeld And Bill Gates To Star In Anti-Apple Ads

Microsoft will begin firing its marketing artillery against Apple starting September 4 in an effort to derail Apple’s campaign to create of Mac computers as being cool and Vista PCs being failures. The ads will feature a "Windows, Not Walls" tagline and are expected to highlight Vista’s openness and criticize Apple’s integrated business model approach that leaves very little room for user requests. Jerry Seinfeld will add a touch of Hollywood, for which Microsoft reportedly paid $10 million.

The new ads are part of Microsoft’s $300 million advertising campaign created to repair a damaged public image of the Windows Vista operating system. It is considered to be one of the largest marketing campaigns in Microsoft’s history, which is believed to have been brought up by CEO Steve Ballmer. In a leaked memo, Ballmer informed his troops that the release of Vista SP1 enabled Microsoft to launch a new campaign. "Now it’s time to tell our story," he wrote to Microsoft employees. "In the weeks ahead, we’ll launch a campaign to address any lingering doubts our customers may have about Windows Vista."

According to the Wall Street Journal, the campaign will stress "breaking down barriers that prevent people and ideas from connecting." It is also expected to address the Zune music player and the perception that it is a failure. Apparently, Microsoft was considering many celebrity comedians, among them Chris Rock and Will Ferrell, but choose Jerry Seinfeld who is best-known for his sitcom.

We can’t wait see what a $10 million pay and many more millions in marketing funds can deliver and hope that we don’t see simply payback in the fashion of Apple’s Mac vs. PC commercials (a compilation can be found here) that, admittedly, can be considered to be insulting. We still remember the fantastic Windows 95 commercial and while we believe that Microsoft taking aim at Apple will not hurt, it surely would be nice to see Microsoft choosing that path again as well.

Wolfgang Gruener is Director, digital strategy and content experience at American Eagle, where he specializes in strategic data analysis, user behavior models and information architecture (IA), as well as content strategy and governance. He was also Managing Editor of the website TG Daily and contributor to sites including Tom's Guide and Tom's Hardware.

  • giovanni86
    I want see the ad already haha. Screw the mac they just plain suck. My opinion of course is that they suck, and would never trade a custom PC for one. EVER. Done deal.
  • americanbrian
    So long as you admit that they made a balls of Vista.

    Pure pwnage of your PC, Huge Bloat, no really nice new features.

    I run XP, which is mature enough now to warrant respect from me.

  • I bought a new Dell XPS M1530 notebook with Vista Ultimate installed. My only regret is not choosing Premium and saving a few bucks.

    At first I was not keen on Vista, but after 4 months now I don't think I could go back to XP, it really seems a step back now.

    And I think a lot of Vista users feel this way, assuming they're not having any problems.

    If anyone asks me for Vista advice I basically have two rules of thumb:

    1. If you have an existing PC with XP, especially a laptop, then don't upgrade.

    2. If you're buying a new laptop then spend a bit more with at least a Core 2 Duo 2Ghz, at least 2GB ram, and dedicated graphics.

    My XPS M1530 is 'only' 2Ghz, 3GB Ram, 160GB 7200rpm HDD, 256MB G-Force 8600GT graphics and runs Mass Effect perfectly with brilliant graphics.
  • mdillenbeck
    Hmmmm... Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld... yeah, those two scream "youthful", "hip", "trendy", "sexy", and "cool".

    I don't think Microsoft gets it yet. Perception is reality. It doesn't matter how good (or bad) a product is, it is all about the marketing message and how receptive those with disposable cash take to it.
  • gm0n3y
    This is pretty controversial, its basically M$ admitting that Mac is a viable competitor. I guess Apple's gain in market share is enough to warrant this, or at least M$ thinks so. I'm not sure that this ad campaign will be successful, but I do think that Vista is a good OS (with the latest service packs) and is much better than a Mac for the typical user. That being said, Apple is the king of marketing and while M$ has a lot of money, I'd still put them as the underdog in this marketing battle.
  • jhansonxi
    I can't wait for the YouTube spoofs of these ads.
  • kitsilencer
    I honestly and strongly believe that Bill Gates doesn't use Windows. He uses Ubuntu. Like any super genius would.
  • rallycars
    I have had numerous people ask me about what to get in their new computer. Easy answer: Get a Mac. It might cost a bit more at first, but you will get a better general purpose computer. Most people don't know what they want until after they bought something that doesn't work for them. Most cheap windows laptops will have slower processors, and cheaper parts. Then you need to spend more money on annual antivirus subscriptions and spend time and money trying to find software that does the things the mac does out of the box. There is no easy answer when someone wants to easily organize their photos, music, etc. other that use iphoto, itunes. Oh wait you can't use iphoto on a windows pc. And I am not going to spend my time finding a good program for you when you won't listen to my opinions on what is a good computer in the first place. If you are new to computing either listen to someone who knows what they are talking about or learn how to use a google search.

    My imac works alright for games in windows. It isn't the best, but I don't have $300+ for a new graphics card every 6 months to a year either. Graphics upgrades are expensive and only see minimal gains. And then I'd have to deal with a big noisy tower in my small apartment.
  • From the beginning, Microsoft said that they were not going to go for negative advertising like a "certain noisy company" does. This is probably the worst written and most biased article I have ever read on Tom's. You should be ashamed.
  • To clarify, I meant that in reference to "Anti-Apple Ads", and the various other parts that said the commercials would "target"/"fir its marketing artillery against"/"derail" Apple.