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Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About

Last Thursday, Microsoft launched its first ad installment of its $300 million campaign to counteract negative publicity around Window’s Vista. The ad features Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates in a shopping mall as Seinfeld helps Gates try on shoes.

As we all know, Seinfeld’s ever-popular show is often regaled as the show about nothing. However, the actions of each Seinfeld character always seem to come around full circle in the end. I couldn’t help but think this was the case with the Microsoft commercial. At first glance, the commercial may be seen as an ad about nothing. However, when you are viewing the ad you can’t help but look for hidden symbolism. It can’t just be about Gates and Seinfeld shopping for shoes, can it? The ad is a teaser, designed to generate buzz and create awareness; something that Microsoft has certainly succeeded in doing so with this ad.

Brand consultant, Dean Crutchfield, was quoted in the WSJ article as saying, “The initial reaction might be on the fence or leaning negative but the ad did its job. Most companies would have to spend a billion dollars on advertising to get this kind of attention.” According to Bill Veghte, senior vice president of Microsoft’s Windows and online services business, “the first commercial was a ‘conversation starter, an ice breaker’ that will be followed by further ads that he declined to describe. Mr. Veghte says the campaign is intended to create more excitement around what Windows can do.”

I have no doubt that in time, the true message of the ads will be revealed. In the meantime, Microsoft has given bloggers and online critics something to talk about.

To read the WSJ article and watch the Microsoft commercial click here

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