Microsoft launched a new ad this past weekend showing a delightful four-year-old girl using Windows Live Photo Gallery to upload, edit, and share pictures. At the end of the ad, she shows how "easy" it is to perform those basic functions and says, "I'm a PC and I am four and a half."
Once again, Microsoft is trying to show that there's a lighter side to its operation, which has taken a beating from Apple over the past few years. During Apple's "I'm a PC and I'm a Mac" ad campaign, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company continually suggested the software giant is dull and that Vista can't compete on any level with Mac OS X.
Microsoft's public image declined as Apple gained control of the topic. The average consumer only heard one side of the story.
Microsoft was forced to fight back against Apple and it started its $300 million campaign by enlisting the help of Jerry Seinfeld. The Gates-Seinfeld spots didn't discuss the value of owning a Vista machine and said little about Microsoft itself. Instead, they used Seinfeld's image and humor to convey a message: "Bill Gates is synonymous with Microsoft and just like him, we're able to loosen up, poke fun at ourselves, and we want you to realize that although Apple has painted us in a certain light, we're nothing like that."
Those who follow the tech world, readers of this column, and others [like your editor, Don] believed those ads failed to capture, well, anything positive. They believed that Gates looked awkward on camera. The humor was lost on them, and because they didn't discuss Microsoft products, they saw them as a waste of money.
I couldn't disagree more.… Read more