Vista's image problem personified

Mak 2.0

Staff member
It might not have even been a story meriting any extent of coverage -- Microsoft's hiring yesterday of comedian Jerry Seinfeld as its new commercial spokesperson -- had it not been for the fact that Microsoft has an image problem. That problem is due in large part to Windows Vista, and the public perception of it as somewhat less than the savior of modern computing that it was originally promoted to be in the early months of 2007.

As was widely reported yesterday, Microsoft is reportedly investing $300 million in a new advertising campaign starring comedian Jerry Seinfeld, and designed by the firm responsible for Burger King's popular, yet disturbing "King" ads. You may recall, the ones where ordinary people find themselves conversing with a plastic, motionless, mute Burger King statue that they find in their midst for no apparent reason.

Crispin Porter + Bogusky's new ad campaign for Microsoft will reportedly pair Seinfeld (although Hollywood sources are reporting that Will Farrell and Chris Rock were also considered) with the always hilarious Bill Gates, whom we hope will not appear as plastic or immobile. The campaign is being called "Windows, Not Walls;" and for some reason, visions of Rowan & Martin's famous "joke wall" immediately come to mind.

It is the very fact that there will be a pairing at all for comedy purposes that will ensure this campaign will be compared for message, effectiveness,, cinematography, wardrobe...with the "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC" campaign mounted by Apple. Regardless of whether that campaign has the "reach-to-conversion" ratio of other campaigns for cars or home appliances or even computers, Apple's will most likely be viewed as among the most successful advertising productions in the history of the medium.

Not that Seinfeld's previous work in advertising has been all that bad. Just last year, he was a spokesperson for HP in its continuing "The Computer is Personal Again" campaign, which has included Mark Cuban, Pharell, Vera Wang, Shaun White, and Serena Williams, among others. That series of ads has coincided with an increase in notebook sales that amounts to 26% worldwide.

Source: BetaNews
Yeah, pretty interesting news. Here's my reply from another site:

Well, Apple has long made its "bang" by focusing on what's cool. While their products also do just work and tend to get the job done, their cash comes from the fact that it's cool to get the job done the Mac way.Microsoft's "name" comes (came?) from reliability in the business industry, where code you wrote almost two decades ago DOS 5 would run on Windows XP today (assuming you used their APIs for everything). Windows 2000 was a fast, snappy, and efficient OS that got the job done. Windows XP has a bit more "homey" but as the years passed and the service packs came in, it grew to fit that same role.

Windows has never been advertised as a truly "fun" OS until Vista's "the WOW starts now" campaign; unfortunately, I get the feeling that they're turning to the hip crowd because they've failed to stand out in any other way. From performance to reliability, Vista has flopped (I'm using it now, fulltime) - so they're looking for anything else that may save them some face.

So while it's no biggie for Apple to start advertising through Sienfeld, it is for Microsoft who have never been the sort of people to do this kind of thing.