Microsoft's new ad campaign: off to a bad start?

The first ad in Microsoft’s new $300 million campaign was launched yesterday during the NFL season opener. My first impression? What a horribly bizarre ad. Featuring the legendary Jerry Seinfeld, the commercial appears to be an ad about nothing. The Seinfeld fan in me loves that, but the Microsoft fan-boy in me was expecting so much more. I wasn’t the only one apparently – Twitter, FriendFeed, and other sites were abuzz with disappointment and confusion.

The ad campaign is being created by Crispin Porter + Bogusky, a well-known firm responsible for some very successful campaigns, such as Burger King’s Subservient Chicken. I’m not sure they are off to a very good start though if Microsoft felt the need to explain things:

In an email we’ve obtained from Microsoft SVP Bill Veghte to all employees, he talks about the goals of the campaign. The overall goal is to inspire consumers and “tell the story of how Windows enables a billion people around the globe to do more with their lives today.” This first phase, he says, “is designed to engage consumers and spark a new conversation about Windows – a conversation that will evolve as the campaign progresses, but will always be marked by humor and humanity.”

If you say so Bill! I was expecting something more along the lines of the “Flat World” ads we saw back in July.

Chris Baskind is among the few willing to say the new ad works:

The campaign debut isn’t about selling Windows, trying to out-irony Apple, or reversing the fact that Microsoft’s strongest current marketing image is the strangely lovable PC Guy in those Mac spots. It has one purpose: to brand Jerry Seinfeld as the new face of Microsoft.

I’m not so sure I buy that argument. I am willing to give the campaign time to unfold, however.

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