With Vista being released more than a year and a half ago, it’s surprising to see that Microsoft is only beginning to advertise on behalf of their new operating system. To my knowledge, at least considering what I can remember, the only Vista ads I have seen have been not by Microsoft, but by Apple. Apple has been producing their ‘Get A Mac’ ads for several years now, trying to get people to switch from Windows to Mac, and do so by trying to berate anything Microsoft. Finally, after taking all of the hits through the years, Microsoft strikes back.
Starting with the Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld, Microsoft tried to catch people’s eyes with unique ads. They weren’t the most straight forward ads produced, but the thought provoking nature of the ads wasn’t that unwelcome. It was nice to think that a big cooperation didn’t think its user base needed everything described to them explicitly.
The first Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld commercial took place in a mall, specifically at a shoe store. Sure, it was a bit strange, but it got people interested in the next installment of the ads.
The second ad I can only find on the Internet. In the long version of the Gates and Seinfeld meet up, the duo spends time with a ‘normal’ family in some the American Suburbia.
The reception of the ads wasn’t the highest, but people did become interested in seeing the next installment of the duo. When the next batch of ads were released, many were surprised not to see any involving the famous comedian. Though Microsoft has promised that the Seinfeld and Gates commercials had not been canceled, no news has been released as to when they will release a new addition to their series.
Following the Gates/Seinfeld ads, a new genre of ad was released to try to connect to as many people as possible. Unlike the commercials produced by Apple, these tried to break the stereotypes of the typical Windows user. The commercials show people who use PCs aren’t always the person stuck in the office using Excel to crunch numbers. Everyone from a Fisherman (Yes, he’s level 99 Fishing in real life), to a Clothing Designer, to an Astronaut…They all are PCs.
The new ads are years behind when they should have been released, but in my mind they do accomplish what Microsoft seems to be trying to purvey to the user base. Starting their first “I’m a PC” campaign, what appears to be the same PC from the “Get a Mac” ads comes on screen and says that he’s a stereotype. Not only is he a stereotype, he is acting. In actuality, he is an employee at Microsoft working on IPv6.
Other ads talk to singer/songwriter Pharrell Williams, Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Deepak Chopra, and several celebrities. The ads don’t focus on the stereotypical Windows user, but try to show every different type of person who would use Windows. The commercials don’t show anything unique to Windows, but when it comes down to it, neither do most of the Apple ads.
Semi-unfortunately, they don’t take any jabs at other operating systems, namely Apple. Though it’s nice to see a commercial in which petty ‘Oh yeah, but we do X better’ isn’t involved, seeing Microsoft dish out some retribution to Apple would be interesting as well. After having Vista’s reputation partially ruined since 2006, and Microsoft technologies mocked in general, it surprises me that nothing is said to combat this. In general, I think these commercials should help Microsoft pull out of the downward spiral in their image. However, this is not to say anyone will be switching operating systems, at least in the masses.
The future of the Windows without Walls campaign is unknown, but they have made a decent start. I would hope we’ll see some offensive moves from Microsoft in the upcoming ads, but nothing too outlandish. Showing off the wonderful gaming features that are unique only to Windows would be something I would capitalize on. Throwing out numbers and small statistical gains by switching to one OS or the other usually isn’t enough to convince people to stay or leave, but capitalizing on features should have a better chance of moving the masses.