Over the weekend, the new Microsoft campaign featuring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld finally got its footing. Last week, the ads generated a lot of buzz, much of it negative, about whether Microsoft was throwing away money on a campaign that seemed to have little to do with their products.
But when you’re Microsoft, and when you have Microsoftian budgets, you can afford to do a mutli-phase campaign that generates buzz first, then talks about product-specific differentiators.
Here are four reasons why this campaign is actually a good thing for Microsoft:
1) It humanizes the company: Steve Jobs has done a great job (no pun) making Apple the apple of consumers’ eyes (stop it already!). Microsoft, until this campaign, has always been seen as a highly-successful company run by Borgs, Driods and other non-human entities. This campaign helps bring out the human side of Microsoft.
2) It’s gotten people talking about Microsoft again: There are many campaigns that generate buzz, but very little brand awareness. In this case, the campaign is doing both — it’s generating buzz and that buzz is linked directly to the Microsoft brand.
3) It takes the conversation away from Apple’s ad campaign: Make no mistake, Apple’s campaign is brilliant and that must have been driving Microsoft crazy. But this campaign gets us talking about Microsoft again. It also comes at a time when Apple’s wonderful campaign is rounding third base and is probably on its way out the door.
4) It sets up future ads which are going to be product-specific: As mentioned, when you’re Microsoft and you have very, very deep pockets, you can afford to do a two-phase campaign. Phase I is to get people’s attention (Grade: 93 on a 100-point scale). Phase II is to talk about what makes your product better.
We’ll see how Microsoft does in Phase II. But Phase I was an “A” job, which ain’t so bad.