"Microsoft" and "Cool" In The Same Sentence?

Back in March, Microsoft decided to launch a new advertising campaign for it’s flagship product, Windows.  This $300 million image overhaul is Microsoft’s first action against the bad press of Vista and direct insult from Apple in the Mac vs. PC advertising campaign.

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For this, Microsoft has decided to stray away from their usual advertising agency,McCann Worldgroup, and enlist the hippest advertising guru in the business, Alex Bogusky of Crispin Porter + Bogusky. He has been called the “Steve Jobs of the Ad World” (Fast Company) and is responsible for some of the boldest and most successful ad campaigns of recent, including the “truth” campaign and the very successful Burger King campaign (see image below).

Alex Bogusky and his co-executive creative directors, Andrew Keller and Rob Reilly, seem to be excited for the challenge.  “Microsoft is at the epicenter of the great brand challenge of the next decade-or millennium” (via: fast company).  Alex Bogusky and his group pride themselves on taking on stale or older brands in a transition, and making them “cool” once again.  Often using strange and bold ideas to push a brand to its limits.  And for an agency driven by challenge, Microsoft may be their advertising dream come true.  No company has been more stale, in terms of their image, in the past 20 years than Microsoft.

Enough with the history and why these companies are working together.  This deal was made in March 2008, and we are now beginning to see what the result will be.  The Mojave Experiment has been a preliminary online advertisig campaing to counter the bad press Vista has been getting.  It’s basic idea is to show people using Vista without telling them it’s Vista and record their reactions (think The Pepsi Challenge with computers).  The Mojave Experiment has been recieved with mixed reviews, but this is by no means Microsofts big plans for the Windows advertising campaign.  The big ideas coming from Bogusky and his group involve celebrities and Bill Gates.  The most interesting, is the pairing of comedian Jerry Seinfeld and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.  The first of these ads are beginning to surface.

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The campaign will center around the slogan “Windows, Not Walls” and highlight what makes Windows a great operating system.  Bogusky is staying to true to his usual ad style.  Instead fo trying to compete with other brands he his trying to focus on what makes Windows great.  This is the opposite of Apple advertising that prefers to show how good they are by showing how bad Windows is.  “It’s not a matter of forcing people.  It’s getting people to want to use it [Windows].  If you can’t, you’re not going to do great advertising,” Rob Rielly said in his interview with fast company.

Bogusky and his group seem to have the idea right, hopefully it shows in their campaign.  Windows does offer a lot of things that other operating systems can not, but many of these things are for more tech savvy people.  Using Jerry Seinfeld is also a good choice, he’s famous enough for young and old to know him and enjoy his work but he doesn’t seem out of touch to pair with Microsoft.  If they went out and just got some young hip celebrity it would seem like a desperation act, scrounging for young people support.  I look forward to see how this campaign takes shape and if it can truly give Microsoft Windows the image overhaul it’s long over due for.

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