So, were the Gates/Seinfeld ads canned? Who knows – right from the start they were supposed to be teasers, something to get a conversation started – and they sure did that – the ‘net is awash with people (like me) saying how lame they are (although I’ve seen a few comments from people saying that they were starting to get into things with the second ad).
Now the blogosphere (and mainstream industry sites) are awash with people saying how Microsoft has come up with “I’m a PC” to take a swipe back at Apple – but without being funny. Hang on guys… you’re missing the point! I’m a PC is just a soundbite – saying how (Windows) PCs have been stereotyped as dull things from the office, things that are unreliable, things that can’t do anything exciting – but that over a billion real people use (Windows) PCs to do real things and showing some of those people. Personally, I don’t like the “I’m a PC” statement from the myriad users featured in the ads (“I use a PC” would be fine) but, then again, I come from the country that invented the English language (England) and these ads are targeted at people who speak American (there is no such thing as US English!).
Then there is the Life without Walls campaign – showing how many things can be done on a PC and how one operating system transcends so many devices used throughout the world.
And the Mojave Experiment, which basically said “come and look at Windows before writing it off as a disaster”.
I can see that this campaign is multifaceted. It seems to lack something to link the disparate themes of Mojave, Seinfeld/Gates, I’m a PC, Life without Walls and the manufacturer-focused Vista Velocity but I do at least understand where this is heading now. And I think it’s a smart move inviting consumers to add their own videos to the campaign, further underlining the fact that ordinary people use Windows PCs (a PC is not a stereotype).
As for the Microsoft-bashers, well, they’ll always find something to poke at, like that the ads were apparently made on a
Mac Apple PC – but really, so what? (Many professional design studios do use Macs but that doesn’t mean a Windows PC is not perfectly good enough for home movies).
At last, this campaign seems to be going somewhere, but I can’t help thinking there are a bunch more Bill and Jerry ads waiting to slip out one day.
An alternative view
The links below highlight the views on this subject from a few well-known Microsoft-watchers: