Microsoft Ads: First Phase To "Engage Consumers, Spark Conversation"

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So the tech and geek crowd is a little underwhelmed by the new $300 million Microsoft advertising campaign featuring Jerry Seinfeld that kicked off tonight. It’s mostly content free, with just one mention of Microsoft near the end. It’s a far cry from the brilliant Microsoft v. mac ads that Apple has run over the years.

So what’s the deal? In an email we’ve obtained from Microsoft SVP Bill Veghte to all employees, he talks about the goals of the campaign. The overall goal is to inspire consumers and “tell the story of how Windows enables a billion people around the globe to do more with their lives today.” This first phase, he says, “is designed to engage consumers and spark a new conversation about Windows – a conversation that will evolve as the campaign progresses, but will always be marked by humor and humanity.”

The ads are just an icebreaker, he ads, to reintroduce Microsoft to consumers. Later this month they’ll do a deeper dive, which I assume means talking about features.

One thing’s for sure – the ads have sparked conversation. Full text of email is below:


From: Bill Veghte
Sent: Thursday, September 04, 2008 5:37 PM
To: Microsoft – All Employees (QBDG)
Subject: Telling the story of Windows

Since it first launched nearly 25 years ago, Windows has been one of the most successful products in the history of the high tech industry. As we set our sights on the next 25 years, it is essential that we deliver incredible offerings on a great platform. We must also tell the story of how Windows enables a billion people around the globe to do more with their lives today. We must inspire consumers with the promise of what Windows uniquely makes possible across the PC, phone and web.

Telling our story means making significant investments to improve the way consumers experience Windows. To that end, we are focused on making improvements at practically every consumer touch point, from the moment they hear about the Windows brand in our advertising to how they learn more about Windows products online; from how they view Windows and try it at retail to how they use the entire range of Windows offerings – Windows Vista, Windows Mobile and Windows Live – across their whole life.

Today, we are kicking off a highly visible advertising campaign. The first phase of this campaign is designed to engage consumers and spark a new conversation about Windows – a conversation that will evolve as the campaign progresses, but will always be marked by humor and humanity. The first in this series of television ads airs initially in the U.S., and it aims to re-ignite consumer excitement about the broader value of Windows. The first television spot aired on NBC during the opening game of the NFL season and will be seen throughout the evening on various primetime programs. Worldwide, you can view this first TV spot at http://msw.

This first set of ads features Bill Gates and comedian Jerry Seinfeld. Think of these ads as an icebreaker to reintroduce Microsoft to viewers in a consumer context. Later this month, as the campaign moves into its next phase, we’ll go much deeper in telling the Windows story and celebrating what it can do for consumers at work, at play and on-the-go. At that time, I’ll be back to share more information about our plans to further strengthen the bond between consumers and Windows – one of the most amazing products, businesses and brands of all time, and, with the right tenacity, passion and agility from all of us, a story that has many great chapters to come.

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