As had been promised, Microsoft last night launched their new advertising campaign featuring comedian Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates. Developed by "bad boy" ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the intent of this campaign was supposed to be to make Microsoft look "cool" and counter Apple’s PC vs Mac ad campaign. Take a look at the TV commercial played during last night’s National Football League season opening game and see whether you think it does that:
Frankly, it reminds me of the infamous Microsoft Zune scratching dog commercial – some minimally amusing goofiness that all but screams "bathroom break" to TV viewers and no significant mention of Microsoft or its products. Other reactions:
I’m sure CP+B will be reminding their nervous client today that advertising is directed at consumers, not tech bloggers, but I suspect they’ll have to come up with something more than that to put lipstick on this pig.
Update: Here’s the Microsoft spin on the new ad campaign and you know you are in trouble when they start hyping "conversation":
These initial ads are the first in a creative campaign by the award-winning advertising agency Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, designed to spark a conversation about the Windows brand – a conversation that will evolve as the campaign progresses, but will always be marked by humor and humanity.
For more "conversation" blather see also the associated video interview with Microsoft CVP of Windows Consumer Marketing, Brad Brooks. When the flacks are talking "conversation", I am always reminded of Nicholas Carr’s diatribe on the subject:
Who exactly crowned "conversation" king? A handful of self-absorbed bloggers banging away at their little keyboards? Conversation isn’t king. Good products and services at fair prices are king – always were, always will be. Which would you rather do business with – a company that delivers great goods but has no interest in buttonholing you into some pathetic excuse for "a conversation," or a company that sells you crap but is great at conversing? Well, duh.
Microsoft would do well to heed his advice.
Update: Microsoft SVP Bill Veghte joins the conversation conga line in a letter to Microsoft employees.