New Microsoft Ad Campaign with Gates and Seinfeld Launched

New Microsoft ad campaign featuring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld.

New Microsoft ad campaign featuring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld.

The much anticipated Micrsoft ad campaign (watch here) put together by hot ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky in response to the devestating Mac vs. PC campaign made its debut during the Giants-Redskins NFL game as reported by Techcrunch (and a nod to Tony for sending it my way). The campaign features founder Bill Gates and comedian Jerry Seinfeld, who was reportedly paid $10 million to be involved, in what looks like will be a series of ads that will run as a chronological short story. The debut has very little meat around Micrsoft Vista, which will likely perturb many in the tech community. Instead, it sets up a tone and conversation that hopes to have us all view Microsoft and its Vista product much differently.

Personally, I think this is a smart move. Vista has been plagued with negative press and reviews, from its massive delay in release to its lackluster debut, PC users have not taken to Vista the way Microsoft had hoped. Not even close. Having a debut ad that is “hard hitting” and dives straight into the features and benefits of Vista or slams MAC would come across as a “me-too” campaign, and would likely not overcome the stigma and feelings towards the product.

Setting a new tone, creating a new conversation, and using a completely different way of looking at it could help change the emotional barriers that consumers seem to have for the product. What do I think of the first ad? It made me chuckle and I’m very curious to see the follow up ad. So far… I like. What do you think?


Filed under advertising, Branding, Business, Communications, Humor, marketing, Microsoft, Technology

18 responses to “New Microsoft Ad Campaign with Gates and Seinfeld Launched

  1. David Gerard

    What’s the message? “Vista is hard, let’s go shopping!”

    I toldja, they shoulda gone with a tried and tested comedic genius.

  2. What was that at techcrunch’s board? Crazy posting.

    I’m seeing something Lee Iacoca did in the 80’s to bring customer satisfaction back to Chrysler. I think the need to upgrade hardware was a killer. Many problems came from the hardware configurations.

  3. David, I feel they are primarily trying to set a new tone and conversation around Vista, as the main objective of this first ad of the campaign. Not so much substance around the product, as much as setting it up for a different way of viewing it. Dare I say trying to change the negative ‘culture’ or ‘cultural perception’ of Microsoft and the Vista product?

  4. Sheira

    The quirky tone of this ad seems more in keeping with the CP+B brand than the Microsoft brand. I understand that the intent is to reposition Microsoft, especially among young consumers, but this strikes me as being too contrived to be effective. Like you, I am curious to see where they take this campaign.

  5. These guys have got so far into their pop culture navels, they’ll never see daylight. All most folks (with a brain) will see is two million-billionaires trying to be funny while flushing more money down the toilet. If I was forced to use a PC (which thankfully I am not) I would be really peeved that they didn’t put more effort into making a better OS and less into trying to convince me it’s any good. I wish Bill had just sent this money to Africa to help some people.

  6. victor

    I’ll wait and see where the campaign takes us before making judgement. Very interested in seeing next spot.

    I’m surprised they aren’t more concerned about Google coming at them on the browser front, the phone front, and continuing to pummel them more and more in the online ad biz

    Have the Mac/PC adds really been devastating to Microsoft? Wasn’t releasing beta software the real problem? It’s not like their monopoly is really in jeopardy and a healthy Apple provides them with most of the “innovation” they need.

  7. Standard CPB most likely. Create a campaign which generates PR and media buzz, stirs speculation, generates “talk value”. Do anything but advertise a product or service.

    It’s Burger King. VW. Etc.

    And if people don’t get it they don’t understand the new culture. They are old world dead-enders that won’t matter to the brand anyway.

    I would love to have been at the pitch for this one – it just boggles the mind.

  8. miatch

    What makes you certain the product is Vista? Could there possibly be a new product coming down the line, a zune-type product?

    Right now they are running the Mojave ads to sell Vista. Of course they could be doing more than one campaign for the same product at the same time, ala Geico.

  9. I can’t confirm it is Vista. However, whether this is for a brand, product or service I stand by my previous comments đŸ˜‰

  10. Hi Miatch, you can read the article in the June edition of Fast Company:

  11. Not my kind of Ad – I like an ad to stand on its own. Fun for what it was. Lets see where it goes.

  12. Hello Rajan,

    This type of “image” advertising and marketing is always much more “out there” than traditional product advertising and marketing. You are right, it takes the argument away from the well documented and obvious problems with Vista (as anyone with Vista can attest to). And that’s good for as far as it goes, but it really doesn’t change the image and experience that most PC users have of Microsoft. In fact, in someways, it emphasizes the common perception that Microsoft doesn’t care at all about the here-and-now problems and instead of spending an additional $10 million on Vista quality assurance before launch, it has given it to Jerry Seinfield post launch in an attempt to shift focus and attention from a problem product to a funny message about the “delicious” future. Good luck to Microsoft. Image advertisements has minimal impact on people’s perception of a brand; experiences with actual products and services are the pillars of a brand.

  13. Hi Alden, thanks for sharing your insight. It will be interesting to see if the campaign is successful at changing the perception and emotions towards Vista. I still think it is too early to tell – I would like to see how it develops in further ads. Some could argue that Apple’s mega successful Mac vs. PC comparative campaign, was also very much an image campaign focused on changing the perception that Macs were for just designers and students, and not for serious business users. This campaign has helped change that perception… I see it in my office here these days, with more and more execs switching to Mac or inquiring about one. Cheers.

  14. Hello Rajan,

    Interesting commnet about the Mac vs. PC campaign. I view that as much more traditional, direct product marketing. Apple is really taking it to Microsoft and Vista, hammering away at its problems (e.g., crashes, security, lack of usability and innovation, etc.) so in that example it is doing what image advertising cannot do, giving consumers some real reasons to consider buying a Mac rather than a PC. Telling people that the future of Microsoft Vista will be “delicious” (the last word flashed on the screen of the new ad campaign) does not give consumers a reason to buy a PC with Vista on it. As you say, let’s see where the next installment of the campaign goes….

  15. Liz

    I feel this ad campaign is just like the product: slow, pointless, takes way to long to get any where and hard to follow. If they were marketing to a younger audience than using two figures well into their 50’s wasn’t a smart idea. I will agree that this ad campaign has people talking, mostly ‘What were they thinking?’

    The only way I see this campaign being even close to a success is if it is leading to a new product, as the ads are going not going to change people’s perspectives on Vista.

  16. Mike Simos

    This campaign is pointless, self-indulgent and poorly written. In short: it sucks. As a copywriter with 20+ years of experience, I would have given anything to use one of the funniest comedians ever and the world’s richest man in a series of TV spots. I certainly would have brought out my “A” game with that sort of raw material. Then again, the overrated savants at Crispin, Porter, Bogusky apparently have no “A” game.

  17. James

    I like the direction that Microsoft is going with the ads. The ‘Get a Mac’ ads from Apple are what keep me from buying a mac. Apple makes good hardware, they have a good operating system, but the ads are packed with so many fallacies and stereotypes it really makes me want to break something. Not to mention nobody really shouldn’t buy into anything they say, they will say whatever they can to increase sales. Apple is a company trying to earn money, just like Microsoft.

    Just because I feel like ranting I am going to go off on one.

    People say Microsoft has drives no innovation. Let me fix that for you. Gadgets where actually implemented into a version of Longhorn(Vista’s codename) back in 2003. OS X didn’t have Widgets till 2004. From what I have heard Spotlight has the same story.

    Microsoft contributed towards the development of the Internet and USB. Both of which have really improved computers significantly.

    Actually OS X’s core is UNIX. Apple did not make it themselves. I would have to say my favorite part about OS X is it’s UNIX core, and Apple took that from someplace else.

    I recognize that both Windows and OS X have their strengths and weaknesses. I really don’t think one is better than the other, what people use is their choice.

  18. betterworldforus


    the other commercial is even better than this one!

    great stuff


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