Print 125 comment(s) - last by poodles.. on Oct 14 at 10:42 AM

  (Source: Robert Scoble)

"Hello! I'm a PC and I've been made into a stereotype!" exclaims a John Hodgman look alike in Microsoft's new spots.  (Source: Microsoft)

MMA tough guy Rashad Evans is among the celebs as well as normal people to declare their love for the PC. Says Evans, "I'm a PC! YOU got a problem with that?!?" It seems pretty unlikely that Justin Long would manage more than a nervous squeak.   (Source: Microsoft)
"I'm a PC! YOU got a problem with that?!?"

Anticipation was high for the Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld ads when they debuted earlier this month.  After all, they paired one of comedy's greats with a father figure of the tech industry -- that should surely be enough to take on feisty Apple computers, right?  Not, so it turns out. 

First the initial ad was blasted across the internet as being nonsensical, unfunny, and generally pointless.  Said ZDNet, "Maybe I’m off base here but I think if Microsoft is trying to engage people with this ad, it has failed miserably."

Gizmodo piped in, "There's not really a whole lot of anything, including laughs, information or pimping of Vista. It's kinda like Seinfeld's really long, really rambling Superman ad for Amex he did a few years back."

The LA Times said the first ad had disturbing racial overtones and generally was in bad taste.  Their blogger remarked, "It pulls none of the emotional strings that might have helped Microsoft "reconnect" with its audience (not that I remember ever being connected to them)."

Criticism for the clips taken from the second full length ad was less vitriolic, but it was not glowing either.  The 4-5 minutes spot about Bill Gates and Seinfeld moving in with a suburban family had its funny points, but again struggled to make a clear connection to a product.

A couple days ago a frenzy of reports began circulating around the internet stating that the seemingly inevitable was about to happen -- Microsoft was pulling the plug on the Gates and Seinfeld spots.  While the gist of this statement may be true, the official word is that the ads are not canceled but merely on "hiatus" and may appear back again at any time.

The true story first began to surface when a Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the ad firm in charge of the campaign and also responsible for the latest Burger King commercials, contradicted the reports according to Gizmodo.

While the old ads may not be gone for good, Microsoft has moved on to "Phase 2", with brand new spots.  The first of these entitled "I'm a PC" aired last night on NBC's popular comedy The Office.  The ads open with a John Hodgeman lookalike saying that PC users have fallen victim to stereotyping.  It then shows off Windows users ranging from geek, like Gates and Deepak Chopra, to glamorous like Eva Longoria and Tony Parker.  Seinfeld was conspicuously absent in the new commercials.

The new ads received a much warmer reception.  As Gizmodo puts it the ads "definitely beat the crap out of those (ill-fated?) Gates/Seinfeld ads when it comes to making a point."

Another funny part comes in the second version of the spot, where, at the end, top MMA fighter Rashad Evans spits out, "I'm a PC.  You got a problem with that."

No one answers, but it seems likely that Justin Long would suddenly have not much to say if he were around.  Indeed, the line delivers the sentiment many frustrated PC owners had been feeling themselves for a long time, but were perhaps not intimidating enough to say.

Perhaps the strongest aspects of these new ads are the parts where they show a variety of everyday people stating the perhaps soon-to-become-iconic line "I'm a PC".  They also seamlessly tie together these with comments on the people’s occupations -- such as an environmental activist, a McCain campaign staffer, an Obama blogger, and even an astronaut.  And there's a bit of randomness too, with comments on the people's facial features like beards and glasses, without losing the point or sounding too inane.  It all ties together into a sort of spot that’s significantly more endearing and even a bit funny.

While Gates and Seinfeld may not be done with their strange antics, the new lifeblood of the Windows campaign seems to have been pumped.  Microsoft finally realized that it should give the people what they've been asking for all along -- a direct and witty response to the snarky "Get a Mac" commercials.

One of the new spot can be found here.  Another can be found here.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Seriously
By mondo1234 on 9/19/2008 8:19:36 PM , Rating: 1
No, you are missing the point. Dont you read Daily Tech? They just published an article on "Lenovo Removes Online Sales of Linux-Based PCs". Six days ago! You should explain your "tech literacy" to Daily Tech writers! The article confirms the point of the confusion (or someone else's perceived "Brilliance").

Here is the link:

PCs are a "IBM Compatible" hardware standard. Always have been since the early 1980's. Now you have Dell selling "PC"s with Linux" installed. I have PC's with Windows and Linux installed because linux is PC compatible. PC is just the box.
The irony is that Apple never targeted Windows, just the PC and let the customer draw the conclusion. Apple has been known not to use "Industry Standard" equipment and they haven't been known as PC compatible. Most "tech-literate people" know that.

RE: Seriously
By anotherdude on 9/19/2008 9:31:47 PM , Rating: 2
"The irony is that Apple never targeted Windows, just the PC and let the customer draw the conclusion."

Apple mentions Vista by name over and over again in those ads, so yes, they are specifically targeting MS BY NAME

RE: Seriously
By mikefarinha on 9/19/2008 9:34:51 PM , Rating: 3
ummm... are you intentionally not reading what I wrote?
Microsoft isn't the one that tied the phrase "I'm a PC" with Windows. Apple did that on their own.

Most tech-literate people said WTF? when they saw what apple was doing. We knew that PC didn't equal Windows .

Then you come along and have the nerve to say this
The irony is that Apple never targeted Windows, just the PC and let the customer draw the conclusion.

Apple has never targeted Windows? ... Apple has NEVER targeted Windows?!?!? Have you seen the Mac ads? Here are a few if you need your memory refreshed.

Upgrading to Vista

Vista UAC

Vista is nothing but problems

Vista has bad PR

Give up on Vista

Don't give up on Vista

Choose a Vista

Vista Nightmare

Mac is the fastest Vista laptop

DLL error

Calming teas for Vista

Hard to switch from Vista, the King

The Vista Blues

Vista and Yoga

Leapord is better than Vista

RE: Seriously
By mondo1234 on 9/19/2008 10:52:19 PM , Rating: 4
Touche, and I see your point. I guess I really never watched them, but I can be open minded about that!
That doesn't deter the fact that PCs are generic, (and until the Intel switch, Apple has never been PC compatible, hackers created that)and windows is unique. So whats your take on this? (this is the same thing Intel ran into)

Do you fire the ad agency?

RE: Seriously
By mikefarinha on 9/19/2008 11:51:26 PM , Rating: 2
Well, thank you for accepting my point... that doesn't happen to often on the internet!

Personally about the ad agency using mac's to make the ads... who cares.

If Toyota hired an ad agency that used Fords to drive around should Toyota fire them? Of course not, it's just a silly way to try and spit in someones eye. I mean, come on, should Microsoft screen all their ad agencies to make sure they're a Windows only shop?

RE: Seriously
By mondo1234 on 9/20/2008 12:35:05 AM , Rating: 1
For $300 million, I would demand it. Otherwise, it hypocritical. If Intel made a commercial (with AMD chips) to show the power of their processors , you don't think Intel would be embarrassed? Give it a few weeks and MS will change this. Just the fact that MS feels cornered by Apple speaks volumes. The 800 lb gorilla perceives Apple as a threat.
Also, why drop money into a market that you have 95% control? I would rather drop $300 mil in Zune advertising and see a return. This whole concept to take on the little guy is retarded. It makes them look insecure about their product line.

RE: Seriously
By mikefarinha on 9/20/2008 1:49:10 AM , Rating: 4
For $300 million, I would demand it.

This is why you don't run your own company nor make decisions on how to spend $300 million.

Microsoft is currently number 1. Microsoft would like to stay number 1. A company does not stay number 1 by letting its competitor define its public image, regardless of the competiors size. Microsoft needs to engage its customers to make them proud to be using Microsoft products. This whole campaign ins't "Hey you should switch to a PC" this campaign is, partially, about "hey I'm a PC and I don't have all these stupid issues that others say I do. In fact I'm quite productive. I'm proud to be a PC and I want to tell people why!"

There was a really good blog by Kathy Sierra called "Creating Passionate Users." It wasn't about just creating useful products for people, but making people proud and passionate about your product/service/company. You've seen the Reality Distortion Field putout by Steve Jobs, it is an amazing thing to behold and is very effective in keeping the company proffitable. Apple users not only love their Macs but feel the need to tell everyone else why anything non-mac sucks. It is great business and great marketing.

Microsoft's biggest fault is not doing this sooner.

I know this is a tech site and not a business site, but it would really make the discussions a bit more useful and educational if people really thought about all the many facets of why these tech companies make certain business decisions. Instead it usually decends down to personal emotional comments of how stupid company xyz is for doing this or not doing that.

One of the most improtant things I learned in my Strategic Management class in college (My degree is in Business: MIS) was that there are no right or wrong decisions, only decisions that hopefully turn out better than others.

RE: Seriously
By mikefarinha on 9/19/2008 9:42:29 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, and here is another stupid quote of yours.
Apple has been known not to use "Industry Standard" equipment and they haven't been known as PC compatible. Most "tech-literate people" know that.

If Apple does't use industry standard 'equipment' then why can Windows and Linux run on Mac equipment? Windows and Linux wern't designed for the 'non-standard' Mac equipment.

All Apple did was take generic PC hardware and then put a special key in it to allow their OS.

RE: Seriously
By foolsgambit11 on 9/20/2008 1:07:19 PM , Rating: 2
Okay, the OP was probably referring to pre-2006 Apple strategies, when they used Motorola CPUs (non x86, therefore no Windows without virtualization). Nowadays, Macs can run Windows just fine because they've switched to Intel processors (x86). But as for Linux, it could always run on Apple computers. Linux can be compiled for any kind of processor, and I personally knew people running Linux on their PowerPC Macs. Linux wasn't designed to be run on any specific platform.

These days, all Apple does is take PC hardware (usually not generic, it's usually pretty decent stuff) and provide the software support (drivers, &c.) to allow OS X to successfully run on the hardware.

But anyway, the OP was referencing the historical distinction, when Macs were not IBM PC compatible machines, and that's why they weren't grouped in under the "PC" heading, even though they were literally "Personal Computers".

"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki