Friday, September 05, 2008

Bread and Shoe Circuses: Windows Vista ad

Whatever one thinks about the Microsoft/Apple debate, the advertising is probably the most visible symbol of each company's position. Last night, Microsoft launched a $300 million ad campaign to combat the perception of Vista as being big, bloated and unnecessary.

They hired a celebrity ad shop--Crispin , Porter and Bogusky--and Comedian Jerry Seinfeld. The first ad is out of the box. You can see it here:

This ad points out three things to me:

1. Vista's perception won't be determined by this advertising: the backlash to Vista has been driven by those who were perfectly happy with XP (like corporate IT departments) who were then told they would no longer be able to get machines with XP and that XP would no longer be supported by Microsoft. It's interesting that 177 million copies of Vista later, a few clever ads by Apple can stimulate this kind of ad-based personality disorder.

2. Crispin Porter Bogusky--most famous in my mind for the bizzarly entertaining Burger King ads--has delivered, well, I'm not sure what...Bill Gates has always been iconic as the brilliant, behind the scenes uber geek entrepreneur for Microsoft. He isn't funny, he's not a Steve Jobs personality, and they shouldn't have messed with his personal brand in the search for cheap humor.

3. Narrative. The ad desparately strives for a narrative, but it doesn't even mention Microsoft until 74 seconds in (yes, that's right. It is a 90-second can make your own joke about bloated inefficient ads AND software sharing a corporate culture). It doesn;t EVER mention Vista. And at the end, I get lines about delicious computing and the future...all mixed in with subtitled hispanic onlookers and discount shoes.

This is an easy ad to not get...or maybe I'm supposed to be hanging there with anticipation for the next episode? More likely, I just don't get it.

Of course, none of this has any impact on whether or not I will buy Windows, Dell, Mac, an iPhone or a new pair of shoes. I'll get the one that fits me...whatever the ads may say.

1 comment:

  1. Jerry was remarkably nonsensical, and for that I'm super happy. I was afraid they might have him talk about computers, software or platforms - non-Jerry type terms. I thought Bill was remarkably nonsensical, and that was just weird.

    Too bad they don't just fix the software, then they wouldn't probably need any ads.

    In the battle of the brands, I think Apple gets the win here. But, Crispen does have a way of putting things in front of us that at first seem completely stupid and then they become part of the lexicon. We'll see.

    BTW, I saw this ad on a re-run of CSI on a cable channel so this thing must be running everywhere.