Microsoft is apparently tired of being portrayed as a dumpy has-been in Apple’s "Hello, I’m a Mac" commercials. The software giant has just launched a new $300 million ad campaign with Jerry Seinfeld as its celebrity pitchman. Seinfeld will appear in the some of the ads with Microsoft founder and chairman Bill Gates and will receive about $10 million in payment. The ad campaign will debut September 4 and is one of the largest in the company’s history.
The new ads will use the slogan "Windows, Not Walls," which really speaks to me as a computer user because I’m always running into walls and… wait, WTF does that mean? Apparently the point is to break down the barriers that prevent people and ideas from connecting. Hmm, hasn’t Microsoft ever heard of that thing called "The Internet?" As Homer Simpson once said, "Oh, they have the Internet on computers now."
Microsoft’s latest attempt to overhaul its battered image comes as Microsoft executives privately acknowledge that the Windows brand has grown stale. This is the result of Apple’s catchy "Mac vs. PC" ads, as well as the negative publicity and poor acceptance of Windows Vista. Windows is Microsoft’s largest profit and revenue source, accounting for 28% of the company’s $60.4 billion revenue in the last fiscal year. Vista has sold well, mostly because it is bundled on all new PCs, and Microsoft continues to dominate with 95% of the operating system market. But Apple is surging, and the share of Macs in large enterprises grew from 3.7% in January 2008 to 4.5% in June.
I can already imagine what the commercials will be like. Seinfeld will sit down at his Windows Vista computer and attempt to launch a program, when suddenly UAC throws up a barrage of confirmation dialogs. Then it will cut to Seinfeld on a dark comedy club stage with a "bump da dump boom" bass line playing in the background. Seinfeld will muse, "So what’s the deal with Vista always asking if I want to do something? I just clicked the mouse, didn’t I? There’s nobody here but me. If I wanted someone to question everything I do, I would call my mother-in-law."
Article published on August 21, 2008
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