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Microsoft Changing Focus on Bill & Jerry Ad Campaigns

When Microsoft first announced the monster ad campaign people immediately assumed the adverts would be a rebuttal to the PC/Mac ads from Apple. We’ve all seen ‘em; young, attractive guy (Justin Long) who’s into “fun” stuff like music and movies and the stuffy suit (John Hodgman) who likes pie charts and spreadsheets. These suspicions were only reinforced when Microsoft announced that they were paying Jerry Seinfeld $10 million to star in the ads.

The first and second commercials featuring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld aired to mixed emotions from viewers. Many accused the company of trying to be cool by mimicking Seinfeld. Seinfeld is famous for being a show about nothing and the ads certainly didn’t have all that much going on aside from the, “uh, what?” factor. Plotwise, they’re pretty abstract. Admittedly, the second ad was a lot better than the first, but it was still pretty weird.

Now it seems Microsoft is ditching the whole “advertise nothing and get them talking” approach in favor of something more traditional. In other words, “buy our stuff because all these people say it’s awesome.” Initial rumors suggested the company was adopting a more direct approach toward advertising in lieu of the Jerry and Bill Show, however a Microsoft spokesperson has said the company had always planned to use Bill and Jerry in the first two, as sort of teaser commercials for the real campaign.

So what’s the real campaign? Apparently the adverts are going to feature a whole ream of celebrities (like Eva Longoria) who use PCs and are happy with what they have (probably best seeing as how Seinfeld is portrayed as a Mac user in his show). The company is also going to have normal everyday joes, such as teachers and shark hunters feature in the ads. Aside from cashing in on the fact that the general public are sort of obsessed with celebrities, Microsoft plans to directly target the “I’m a Mac” campaign, which lets face it, is a little embarrassing for the PC. According to the New York Times, one of the new ads will see a Microsoft engineer who resembles John Hodgman introducing himself and stating, “Hello, I’m a PC and I’ve been made into a stereotype.”

It’ll be interesting to see how this approach fares out. While the last two ads have been really, really, strange, people have been talking about the ads and talking about Microsoft. A significant amount went from “Why is Microsoft trying to be cool? It won’t work,” to “Maybe it can’t be cool, but it can be weird and it kinda works.” We don’t know how good it will be for Microsoft to go from something completely different and off the wall, to just playing defense.

Check back tomorrow for the third commercial.

  • Grims
    the comment in the first one about making your pc soft so you can eat it just made me want to Install Linux right there.
    Reply
  • get some comedians spoofing that lying little weasle mac guy, how hard is that???????
    Reply
  • chaohsiangchen
    Somehow I just recall iRan and iRack scene on MadTV.

    Usually I don't give too much crap about Microsoft, especially the days when their Office Suite was on slaught against WordPerfect and Lotus. However, my growing hatred against Apple Corporation leads me in hope that Microsoft's new marketing campaign can kick the Mac cult in the nuts. Well, they just suck at producing image after all. Maybe they should pay Michael McDonald to mock Steve Jobs and de-construct the image that Apple Corporation has tried to produce in the past years.
    Reply
  • wymer100
    Marketing 101: If you are the big guy in the industry, you don't talk about the little guy. It only serves to lend credibility to the little guy. There's a reason why you NEVER see pepsi mentioned in a Coca-Cola ad. If MS thinks it has a great product, then talk about all the great features. Take one great feature and talk about it in each ad. You can opine about how great Vista is, but people just say, "that's nice" and keep going about their business. If you talk about a specific feature, then people will say, "I want to do that" and go out and buy your product. It's not rocket science. It's just basic advertising.
    Reply
  • The Schnoz
    Call me crazy, but I liked the ads with Jerry. Though I was a little dissappointed their wasn't a "contest".
    Reply
  • David Gerard
    Vista's slow, it's fat, my software doesn't work, I can't get drivers, the User Access Control's a pain in the ass and my network grinds to a crawl when I play an mp3! What do you call that?"

    "... The Aristocrats!"
    Reply
  • Here's an idea for a commercial: Maybe they should debunk all of the Mac superiority myths, much like the readers of Toms hardware did on that Mac article by Tuan Nguyen.
    Reply
  • Mr_Man
    Two words: Mojave Experiment. I watched it and was like wow, that's amazing. They should put that stuff on TV and that'll do the job as well as anything (and at little additional production cost).
    Reply
  • The Schnoz
    David GerardVista's slow, it's fat, my software doesn't work, I can't get drivers, the User Access Control's a pain in the ass and my network grinds to a crawl when I play an mp3! What do you call that?""... The Aristocrats!"Either your system sucks or you don't know what your doing. Turn off UAC and add some ram. People complained about Windows XP for the same reasons you are when it first came out. Microsoft doesn't release an OS for specifications of todays PC's, they release OS's for tomorrow's specs. Microsoft moves the industry foward. The same people that complain about having to upgrade their computer for Vista are the same people that complain PC games aren't up to snuff because they're designed to work on mainstream pc's. Obviously many people are running Vista just fine, so anything causing your system to run slow is not related to Vista. I'm running Windows Vista Ultimate x64 and the only driver issue I had was on first install. Took 2 seconds to fix it and turn off UAC. As for the software being bloated, I could can't notice and could give a crap, my sytem can take it. Besides, Leopard takes up just as much space as Vista and I don't hear anyone complain about that. If your PC can't run Vista stop your bitching and use XP until you upgrade, or take out a loan and buy an overrated, over priced, pretty-boy Mac.
    Reply
  • nukemaster
    user2008get some comedians spoofing that lying little weasle mac guy, how hard is that???????perfect
    Reply