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Microsoft: first ad just an "icebreaker"

updated 07:55 am EDT, Fri September 5, 2008

MS Comments on First Ad

The first Seinfeld ad that aired Thursday evening is just an "icebreaker" that will be backed by more substantive ads in the near future, Microsoft senior VP Bill Veghte has said in a company-wide e-mail leaked to TechCrunch. Indirectly addressing concerns that the spot doesn't immediately either promote Windows or criticize rivals, Veghte explains that the 1:30 spot is just part of a "first phase" meant to refamiliarize viewers with Microsoft rather than a direct promotion.

The ads "reintroduce Microsoft to viewers in a consumer context," the e-mail reads. "Later this month, as the campaign moves into its next phase, we'll go much deeper in telling the Windows story."

The Microsoft executive's message also characterizes the campaign as positive, saying that the TV ads will "celebrate" Windows' features and that the guiding tone will involve "humor and humanity."

Veghte's response nonetheless confirms the ultimate goal of attempting to reclaim a positive public impression after what his company believes is an attempt by Apple to undermine Windows Vista and control the public's impressions of the operating system. Microsoft has previously acknowledged that Vista encountered a rough launch but has maintained in recent months that Service Pack 1 and subsequent updates have eliminated many of the initial complaints, meriting a second look.

The Washington state-based developer's most direct video campaign to date has been an online-only series, nicknamed the Mojave Experiment, which claims to have shown Vista as much better than its negative public reputation. Critics have charged that Mojave is a controlled environment that doesn't address the long-term problems with Vista.

by MacNN Staff



  1. InfraredAD

    Joined: Dec 1969



    An Icebreaker? Is this is a date? Here's some change, grab and a taxi and go home. Sorry, not interested.

  1. Smurfman

    Joined: Dec 1969



    When news about this "Seinfeld" campaign came out a few weeks back, I thought, "Wow... that's a little risky for Seinfeld. If I were him, I wouldn't be a part of this."

    Seriously... Why would anyone associate themselves with such an "uncool" product and company. To me, it's one of the dumbest things Seinfeld has ever done.

  1. simdude

    Joined: Dec 1969



    People don't know what Microsoft is? People know who you are Microsoft. They just aren't thrilled about your products. They use them because they either have to, are too cheap to buy anything else or don't have the money for something better. How about this. Get rid of Steve Ballmer. Get some young blood in the company and make some cool products. You don't make yourself cool by staying the same and putting a spin on what you do. You change what you do.

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Change? ha!

    Come now, smurfman. Why ruin decades of a business model that's made them so "successful?" Spin is their lifeblood. What you ask for is radical change, and highly unlikely unless the board starts pulling some strings and making replacements.

    I guess you can always hope, as futile as it may be.

  1. Duo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    That is why Seinfeld did the add. The add made no sense, but it was good for a couple of chuckles.

  1. JuanGuapo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    If you're a Seinfeld (show) fan, then the commercial makes total sense. I thought it was funny and pretty tongue-in-cheek w/ Bill Gates. I've seen worse.....MUCH worse....

  1. eddd

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The ad was refreshing and overall surprisingly good. In fact, Apple needs a new approach... the cutesy Mac/PC ads are old now, and don't grab my attention. In fact, they irritate me a bit.

    MS is trying to make the company more human, and this ad does that in a surprisingly successful manner. I expected them to copy Apple's approach in some form, but they avoided that and came away with something fresh. Like it or not, there are a lot of people who like both of these characters, and I'd guess they match their target audience perfectly.

    It's interesting that the emphasis is on future MS software... smart move in not trying to prop up Vista

  1. Monde

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I still want a pair

    I still want a pair of those Conquistadors.

    Ice breaker? Breaker schmaker, get to the point, if you have one. Pitch your product, tell us what is good, unique and value oriented.

    What was with the Hispanic couple? MS has got to get a better ad agency.

    Chiat/Day ought to launch another campaign, for itself. "Hi I'm an advertisement." With his counterpart flexing a shoe. It's an ADDY in the making.

  1. horvatic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Shoe clown = Microsoft?

    Shoe clown = Microsoft? I don't get it?
    Not even a hint of Microsoft except Bill Gates and his shoe size.

  1. derbbre

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Funny=yes Good product=no

    MS has always been about superior marketing. If they spent as much on programmers and UI designers and they do on marketers and gave them the power to truly change the product for the better, they might be on to something. Just copying OS X and buying out innovative companies does not create a viable product, intense R&D and design do. Some year maybe MS will get the idea. Marketing goes a LONG way, but if the product is still a lemon, watch out.

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