Microsoft launches 'I'm a PC' commercials

microsoft A couple weeks ago we saw the first commercials in Microsoft’s new ad campaign. They featured Jerry Seinfeld and were quite polarizing – either you liked them or you didn’t. Unfortunately for Seinfeld fans, he didn’t last long. Microsoft’s new commercials went live last night, as described by TechCrunch:

The three new non-Seinfeld commercials, which the New York Times described earlier this week, still don’t talk about Vista features. But they do try to break the stereotype that cool and interesting people use Macs, and everyone else is on a Windows machine.

The ads features a number of Microsoft employees and include email addresses for each. The star, Sean Siler, has an autoresponse to his sean@windows.com email address.

TechCrunch has embedded the three commercials in that post if you’d like to check them out. You can also see a longer version and a really funny comic at Long Zheng’s site.

I have to agree with Mary Jo Foley – I’m a little surprised that Microsoft is going after Apple. The “Mac vs. PC” ads have been incredibly successful and are very widely known, so I think directly responding to them is an incredibly daring thing for Microsoft to do. That said, I really like the new ads. They make Apple seem a little elitist.

I like this approach better than the Seinfeld commercials, and I look forward to seeing what Microsoft has planned next. Their marketing story is finally starting to get interesting!

By the way, I first noticed the new commercials were live when “I’m a PC” became a trending topic on Twitter Search. If you’re not already a regular user of Twitter Search, you should be!

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.

Have you seen the creepy commercial from Shaw?

Post ImageRegular readers of my blog will know that I don’t worry about online privacy all that much. My gut reaction to new technologies or products is generally not “what about my privacy!” As a result, I was pretty surprised to think about privacy right after seeing the new television commerical from Shaw! A quick search didn’t turn up any videos, so here’s a quick rundown of the commercial in case you haven’t seen it:

The commercial is shot in the familiar “Apple white” environment, with lots of people running around. The voiceover starts talking about Shaw’s technology, noting that Shaw is there “for every conversation, every web search, and every online purchase.” The video depicts these scenarios. The commercial concludes with something similar to, “the greatest thing about our technology, is the people behind it.”

It’s a good overall message, and I think I understand what they were going for. It’s too bad it comes off as kind of creepy. The thought process might go something like this:

  1. Ah Shaw, yah I know this company.
  2. Web search? Oh right my ISP is Shaw.
  3. Conversations? Ahhh yes the new Shaw VOIP!
  4. People behind the technology, that makes sense.
  5. Wait a minute…web searches, purchases, conversations – they know everything about me!

Maybe I’m just reading into it too much, but I think Shaw would have been better off not highlighting all of the various things they could keep track of.