OK I can't hold back anymore. Can someone with influence please let the people at Microsoft and their advertising agency know that they are doing nothing to improve PC brand equity with this campaign.
Here's my take on how this campaign was probably sold in.
Round 1: The Launch (picture account management lead presenting to Microsoft)
Well Microsoft, Apple is a number 2 brand, so they are doing what they need to do. Direct comparison, younger cooler image. So to respond we've come up with a great campaign for you. We all know how popular Bill Gates is. His charitable giving, high levels of recognition and the overall fondness American's have for him makes Bill the perfect spokesperson.
But Bill alone might not come off as being warm enough. Let's match him with Jerry Seinfeld, he did wonders for American Express when they were in a similar position. The combination of Bill and Jerry, like Abbot and Costello or better yet Rowan and Martin is a killer. We'll put them in ordinary situations to show that Microsoft is in touch with ordinary people. Plus we'll run parts of the story on the television and some on the web. That we will look like we know what we are doing by integrating the internet and mass media.
We'll shoot the commercials so they are quirky. Everyone loves quirky. It's in right now. Just look at those reality shows.
Round 2: Focus on PC Users
So that didn't go quite as we planned. Bill looked out of place as an ordinary guy and we didn't make the point that Microsoft is as approachable as Apple. We know we didn't move the brand meter at all, but hey we got press in thousands of publications and look at all of the blogesphere activity we generated. For an initiative that was only scheduled for a few weeks it's a home run.
Now we suggest running advertising that PC users aren't as geeky as Apple makes them look. No one is out supporting the PC even though it has a significantly larger market share. We need to fight back by showing that cool people use our product too.
Round 3: Change the Agency
I don't understand why Microsoft finds this so hard. The company is filled with technological breakthroughs, great people, new ideas. They just need to unlock it. Appoint a customer evangelist with the power to control what goes to market. Stop pretending to innovate without actually doing it. Don't imitate Apple, you are bigger, stronger and more important than that.