Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

New Windows Ads: WTG or WTF?

So last night, Microsoft aired the first in a series of ads in that $300M campaign that you’ve heard so much about. Most of the web pundits out there are lambasting the ad, saying that it wasn’t going to sell Vista, or whatever. I had a lot to say about this topic, but CNET’s Don Reisenger said just about everything I wanted to say about it.

Everywhere I turn today, I find a story by colleagues or comments by readers saying that the new Microsoft ad with Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates fails on almost every level. Some complain that it doesn't mention Vista at all, which makes it useless, while others say that watching Gates' derriere waggle at the end of the commercial was just a bit too much.

Either way, Microsoft is getting killed from all sides by people that think the ad was nothing more than a waste of time and money. "Apple's ads are so much better!" they say until their hearts are content. "Who would want to buy Vista after watching that ad?" they exclaim.

Do me a favor: sit down, put your MacBook Pro away, and be quiet.

Judging a $300M advertising campaign by its first $50K ad is, to say the least, ridiculous. No one ever said it was a Vista marketing campaign… Windows is about more than just Vista. The “Get a Mac” ads targeted Windows long before they made it cool to flat out lie about Vista. It’s not targeted at techies… we all have our allegiances, and one ad campaign isn’t going to change them (religion is usually like that). It was targeted at everyday people, who think that campaigns like Subserviant Chicken and The King are cool. It took you to a world where the richest man in the world shops at the Shoe Circus in your local mall, and worked ridiculousness, Bill Gates’ mug shot, and hairy legs wearing shoes in the shower, all in one 90 second spot.

I’m looking forward to seeing what Microsoft thinks “Your World Through Windows” looks like. And BTW, congrats on the new site. Good to see you guys using Silverlight. Maybe will get the hint.



  • Devin said:

    I thought it was a fun ad. It certainly didn't make me scream profanities at the TV, or wish I could jab my ears with an ice pick to get rid of the horrible organ grinder music, like Apple commercials do.

    September 6, 2008 2:04 AM
  • Bob said:

    I thought it was weird but will have to see how it unfolds. Certainly it got a lot of coverage, though based on the stock's major selloff Friday, not in a good way. Personally, I still think the series of spots you created in your contest were superior.

    September 6, 2008 10:36 AM
  • Simon said:

    The ad was successful in getting people interested in seeing it (it was most viewed online, actually, not on air), and the buzz around how bad the ad is is publicity in any case--all publicity is good publicity.

    The clunkiness does speak to a persistent problem that Microsoft has in presenting itself effectively, however. This problem is evident everywhere from Microsoft's hectic-looking product packaging to the eye candy in Vista's UI that obscured authentic problems with the underlying software when it was released.

    Perhaps as the ad campaign continues we will be relieved that there was a point to to this insipid first installment, but in the meantime I worry all the same that the people at Microsoft may not truly know what they are doing.

    September 8, 2008 12:08 PM
  • Joe said:

    Clearly most of these people never saw the "show about nothing" or enjoyed Seinfeld's humor.  Either I am getting old or there just isn't much crossover between fans of the show and techies.  This ad was vintage Seinfeld.  Let's see where the series goes.  The old adage of "there's no such thing as bad publicity" comes to mind...I have never seen so many words dedicated to a technology ad, and you can rest assured that, love it or hate it, people will be watching to see what happens next.

    September 8, 2008 12:44 PM
  • Tanveer Badar said:

    "And BTW, congrats on the new site. Good to see you guys using Silverlight. "

    What new site? If you are talking about having sliverlight on its homepage, its there for ages. You could also take a look at

    September 13, 2008 12:17 AM