Microsoft Campaign: Phase II "I'm a PC"

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To have these new spots totally disconnected from the Seinfeld/Gates sitcom spots seems foreign to everything we’ve ever learned about the ad game. Also, it’s interesting to note one of Microsoft’s new celebrities, Pharrell Williams, has attested to being a Mac guy in the past. We’re pretty lost as to the exact strategy being enacted here. Agency: Crispin Porter + Bogusky.


Disconnect much? Maybe I’m missing something. Maybe the spots featuring Bill and Jerry (not Ben & Jerry) were a way to transition from the rich celebs to the “ordinaries” and now those regular everyday folks take over the campaign. But with a few other celebs thrown into the mix. And to humanize it even more, why not take the piss out of one of the most memorable campaigns of the last decade? Is that it? I don’t know, but I’d still rather have a Mac…and I’m a writer.

Oh, and I forgot to add, just in case you missed the whole “humanize the brand” strategy that is clearly not showing here at all, watch for Deepak telling you he’s human at the end of the second spot. Maybe PC owners need that extra push to grasp the idea? “Hey, I’m human too! I’m getting a PC, screw that Mac, it’s so non-human. Oh hang on, I’m getting a call on my iPhone.”

Is that Deepak Chopra at the end? I always figured he’d be a Mac guy like all those other spiritual gurus out there… Does that mean I think PC is the Antichrist?

we can all agree that people who post on the egotist are not in this demographic. think pc users.

Im a sunni. And Im a shiite.

Hey world, its only an operating system.

Any add that says “I turn #2 into energy” is incredibly effective for me.

But I agree with Stuart, hard to be subjective about these, we’re almost all Mac guys.

It’s not hard to be objective at all. If you’re a “Mercedes guy,” does that mean you can’t effectively assess advertising for Lexus? No. How does this work hit you as a human and a computer user? After all, as much as they’re trying to make current PC users feel good, they’re also trying to appeal to Mac users to make the switch.

I think it’s a misstep to feature a Hodgman clone at the open of these (a PC clone of the Mac clone of the PC), which only reminds everyone of Mac ads.

Other than that, these spots are smart and dead-on target. CP+B would be idiots not to leverage that fact that PCs are used by magnitudes more people than Macs, millions of people who don’t look like John Hodgman.

PC users have been putting up with Mac ads for years, and finally here’s a campaign that says “You’re one of us, isn’t that cool?” Smart for shoring up the fringes, those people who might’ve been drifting to The Other Side in recent years.

I’m a Mac, through and through, but I think these spots are going to be a good thing for Microsoft.


Putting this out there only reaffirms that momentum is with Apple and Windows users are followers, not leaders.

No way to build a brand, let alone re-build one.

I may use a Mac, but I’m not a fanatic about it. A computer is a computer. As long as it works and I can view Internet porn, I’m happy. My judgement isn’t clouded by prejudice or partisanship.

So when I say that I find Microsoft: Part Deux underwhelming, it’s not because I don’t use a PC. It’s because it’s trite and vapid. The quick cuts, the multiple locations, the shoehorning in of every conceivable demographic, the random use of celebrities: It’s nothing we haven’t seen done — and done better — before for everything from soft drinks to financial firms.

And what’s the message they are trying to convey? That PC users aren’t socially maladroit nerds the way they’re portrayed in the Apple ads? Really? If I was a PC user, Stuart, wouldn’t I already know that?

The problem Microsoft faces isn’t the perception that people who use their software are dweebs. It’s that their software is buggy and complicated and not user friendly. That’s the “stereotype” Microsoft should be worried about. Who cares how many people they’ve connected if you can’t get Vista to work?

One final nit to pick: Didn’t Deepak Chopra’s line about a “human being” spoken by Dr. Brad Goodman on an old “Simpsons” episode?

The big difference Chris is that the Apple spots focused on why to own a Mac over a PC. These spots just say a bunch of people own them, and we all know why…because they’re way cheaper and more abundant. I don’t think PC can take on Mac in that way, so to remind everyone at the start of the ad seems way off. But then again, I’m not the target.

One final thought, because I’m starting to look like an obsessed maniac. But think about this. These days, what people want more of is individuality. From tatts and piercings to customized cars and clothing. If I’m a Mac owner, I like the fact that I’m part of a smaller crowd. Why would I want to give that up to join the masses? That’s like trading in your cool Mini Cooper for a Ford Focus.

What struck me when I saw the ad was that they were trying to defend PC users because Apple had made them into a stereotype. But the whole point of the Apple ads is that John Hodgman represents the PC, not the PC user. Do they not understand the Apple ads, or are they trying to twist the concept for their own purpose.

With what they have to work with I thought the Seinfeld ads were better. I felt they would work to humanize Microsoft a bit and talking about the future was a good angle. It was the only angle they have because talking about the past or the present (Vista) just brings up what people don’t like about Microsoft.

I’ve been a Mac users since 1985, so no switching happening here, but it’‘s fun to watch Microsoft try to tackle a very big image problem.

Paul makes a great point: the Mac spots focus on why people own Macs, not just the fact that they own ‘em. Absolutely agree.

What the new PC spots do that I haven’t noticed Microsoft doing well (or at all) is show that PC users are both varied and proud. We’ve all seen the quick-cut montage bullshit before, different people all saying the same thing, coalescing into a vastly powerful wonderball of on-message brand lovin’. But this is one of the few times that overused execution actually supports the message: all kinds of people are proud to use PCs; we can be a tribe too.


I disagree, I don’t think they’re trying to appeal to Mac users at all. They’re showing Apple’s satirical view of a PC guy and reaffirming to PC users that you’re not all nerds, you’re real people too. What about that makes me want to switch? Mac ads specifically target certain features/benefits that Mac has over PC and talk about how easy it is to switch. This ad doesn’t convince anyone to make a switch, it just says “It’s okay, PC users, you’re not all nerds.” That’s what I take away from this. So in that sense, it’s hard to be subjective (not objective, as you said).

Apple has bullied Microsoft into a very tough spot. This stuff weaves together folksy with edgy in a way that makes me feel nice. I think Crispin might be pulling this one off. From yesterday’s NYT piece:

“You can ignore it,” said Rob Reilly, partner and co-executive creative director at Crispin Porter in Boulder, Colo., and Miami of the Apple campaign, “or you can find a clever way to embrace it, to hug it to death, to turn it to your advantage.”

Before everyone continues to debate these last spots – I think the larger point is the one Paul brought up first.

The big, giant disconnection going from Seinfeld to this. (WTF?) I figured we’d at least get some semblance of a payoff with the next round.

If the point of the Seinfeld ads was to simply humanize the brand a bit – those of us in the industry can maybe kind of see it (maybe) – but the rest of consumers are left feeling rather confused and probably even more alienated from the the brand than before.

Unless the rumors are true and the brand managers just got scared…I just don’t get the switch.

Does anyone have an idea/ insight?

As much as I don’t want to make this comparison, it’s a lot like the McCain attack ads versus the Obama “talking about change” ads. One is very direct and takes jabs at the competitor, the other makes you feel good about your decision.

I lied. I have another comment. There are some pretty cool innovations with PCs as far as case mods go. Alienware for one does some wicked gaming machines, and you can also customize the shit out of self-build PCs now. Wouldn’t that be a way to at least get the Mac crowd interested? If individuality is a way to go (which is only my opinion) you could attack it on that level. Macs are macs, they look cool but they all look alike. With PCs, you have unlimited choices. True, the software is crap, but they’ll never get over that. So, focus on something else. And you’re right Scott, the ads poked fun at the PC, not the owner. I think that got mixed up somewhere along the line. Right, now I’m done. I promise.

to say they poke fun at the pc and not the owner is inaccurate. the personification of the computer is directly tied to who is using them. hence, smug young creative hipster for mac. dont think those mac ads arent subtly implying that youre an uptight nerd if you use a pc. and the brilliance of these new ads is that they now make the mac ads come across as even more patronizing and smug. suddenly, youre attacking everyone who uses a pc. well done.

I’m with Paul on the individuality thing.

It’s hard to make the status quo seem cool and enticing, especially when it’s as huge as Windows is. At most, I think this is trying to keep people from jumping ship.

As far as the customizable hardware, but MS doesn’t make the computer. They could push the ability to skin and theme Explorer, but that’s not really MS sanctioned.

The odd thing to me is that while Apple is humanizing the computing experience, MS/CP+B is trying to humanize the user.

If you study CP+B’s past work and read their book, you’ll find that they jump around within campaigns constantly – in an attempt to never allow their advertising to get stale or be expected by the audience. The King pops up in BK spots and then he’s gone. Then, there’s a BK viral campaign (Whopper Freakout; Subservient Chicken). Then, there’s a movie promomotion website (Simpsonize Me). Then, there’s a book and infomercial (Eating the Angus Diet). That’s one of the reasons Crispin deserves so much respect for their ingenuity.

But in this case, for some reason, it’s hit us in all the wrong ways jumping around for Microsoft.

I’m not sold at all. This was underwhelming to me. This is coming from a mac owner that would prefer to get my old pc back. I would think with such an image problem they would be much more aggressive with this campaign. Its nothing special and everyone here could have concepted it out. I wanted to see CPB really go after mac and explain WHY people should choose pc over mac.

Not everyone has macs, thats part of the appeal. By purchasing a mac you become a part of a hip niche community, similar to the way minicooper cars positioned themselves. Why in the hell would I want a PC from this ad? Some broke researcher that cares about whales has one????

media rocks, if cpb went after mac, they would be attacked from every possible direction. microsoft still has their massive market share – if they go on the offensive, they would appear as terrible bullies, and everyone would hate them. instead, this is excellent brand strategy – embrace what others are saying about you and coyly use it to your advantage.

well chris…I disagree.

This is a Nike ad for PCs.

I dig the guy in the shark cage. Aside from that, it’s a yawn.

If they really want to humanize the brand, perhaps they should draw a correlation between PCs and certain people. If they’re stuck on throwing celebs into the mix, maybe get Britney Spears, saying, “I’m a PC. I’m a little crazy, a little bloated, and I don’t always do what I should. But you still love me, right? Right??”

I originally wrote a long-ass comment but I guess I can shorten it.The Seinfeld ads are only confusing these spots, but both are trying to humanize PCs and possibly allow people to connect to PCs as a machine that many people use as opposed to one of a stereotype (i.e. I wear glasses, see Mac ads portraying PC as a glass-wearing, uptight dude).

The point of this spot puts the campaign in a very simple message “I’m a PC” used in this context does not portray the stereotype of a PC but spread out across the world. The use of a celebrity at all seems pointless, specifically Pharrell, regardless, it gets across that PCs are used by not everyone, but many people.

It’s about connecting with people, it’s not about PC being better than Mac, and definitely NOT trying to persuade Mac users to switch.

It’s about changing image and perception. And perhaps with all the tired, tired arguments about Mac vs. PC, it’s a good time that someone addressed it on both sides. Leave your personal opinions about either at home and look at the spot as a spot.

Were any of you actually watching the Bill and Jerry spots!? OK, I didn’t actually read all the comments, so maybe some of you were. Regardless, those spots were all about Bill and Jerry trying to connect with ordinary people. They were poorly executed, but it was stated many times in those spots that they needed to connect with ordinary people.

Now, there are ads with ordinary people.

The spots are done very poorly, and it feels like a big disconnect, but it shouldn’t because the idea was there. So, for the concept I grade them a C+. For execution, a D-.

Oh and this is pretty interesting. And by interesting I mean way to f*ck up! That is, of course, if it’s true.

Is it just me, or did Deepak Chopra’s delivery make you want to smash him in the nuts?

Everything about Deepak makes me want to smash him in the nuts.

I’m surprised, I totally like these ads. The message seems to be “real people who have real things to do.”

I’ve always liked the “I’m a Mac” ads and have never understood the people who find “Mac” to be a snob, but these MS ads actually make “Mac and PC” look like douches who don’t use their computers for much besides fiddling with iTunes.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

I also heard they made elements of this campaign on a Mac, too.

im a mac and i love these ads.

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