Microsoft recently lauched a series of Ads featuring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld. The following is the long version of its 2nd episode, New Family.
The feedbacks from the Internet community are almost negative since the first episode. Users critize the Ads. being ambiguous as a marketing attempt – not mentioning ‘Vista’ even once; attack its worthiness – spending 300 million instead of fixing the problem in the product; or just simply label it as ‘stupid’ and ‘lame’.
However, the intention of the comercial is not to promote Vista or any Microsoft product directly, but to restore the public image of the company. Microsoft has been depicted as an “evil empire” for long time. It is a fashion that if you don’t say something negative about Microsoft then you are not cool. Looking at Slashdot website, it is easy to find many posts that talk something else but at the end add, “BTW, Microsoft sucks”. Although tech people have the tradition of being anti-authority, it has gone beyond that and become a bias. As an engineer in the network security industry, I know attacks that target Windows and its software are hundred times more than those to Apple’s OS. Not because Apple is safer, just attacking Windows can reach more so it is more profitable. In fact, it’s lucky that Microsoft won the OS war in 1980s, otherwise, a PC would cost $1000 instead of $300, and we could never order case, CPU, fan, memory, harddisk, power supply online and make our own PC – everything would be made by Apple.
It is unlikely that Microsoft could fix its image by this campaign, but it steps to a right direction. In the ad., Microsoft doesn’t put itself at the incumbent position, but more like a humble underdog who is easy to access and eager to learn. Because it doesn’t mention any product, the consumers feel it is not pushing anything, so they want to follow the story and feel the connection. To Microsoft, with 90% of market share, this is more important then a few Windows licenses.
As I am writing this blog, I read some articles that state Microsoft will stop the campaign because of the negative responses as planed. If that is true, what a shame.