Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What's the deal with Microsoft's new ads?!?

As part of a new $300 million (yes, $300 million) ad campaign to reposition itself as a friendly, approachable, and human brand, Microsoft has launched these new commercials, mini-movies really, featuring the original odd couple, Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates. Seinfeld earned $10 million for his zany performance.

Here's 'Shoe Circus':

Here's 'New Family':

What's the point of this ad? I'm really confused and scared right now. It's not a feeling I like! So, why are they trying on shoes? Is it supposed to be cute and irreverent?

Does anyone think that Jerry Seinfeld is relevant anymore? Is Bill gates really a charismatic and influential individual to Gen Y? Is he really even that influential to normal consumers, who, if they're of a certain age are doing everything they can to infantilize themselves anyway and would rather buy a new Apple than a new PC.

It's just a baffling commercial because Microsoft and their agency Crispin Bogusky & Porter believes that the simple new message of Microsoft "Delicious" or "Connectivity" is best communicated by obnoxious loud mouths. Simple messages don't need such a carnival-like atmosphere to be understood. In fact by giving this campaign such a massive context mutes and muddies that simple message. The fact that the commercials are 1:30 and 4:30 long and that there is not an immediate hook to clue the audience in to the whole value prop is confusing.

Nonetheless, we're talking about it and the ads have gone viral. He's what others have said:

The Good:
Seattle Post-Intelligencier

The Bad:

The Ugly:
Fast Company

They've gone viral, but as MSNBC analyzes, the virality is negative and reinforces the perceptual challenges that Microsoft has faced in the last five years.

...because the perception, now as before, is that Microsoft just doesn't get it.

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