The Empire Strikes Back with Jerry Seinfeld

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Microsoft has apparently budgeted $300 million for an ad campaign to “hip” its image.

The campaign is called “Windows, Not Walls” and it seems that Jerry Seinfeld has been signed ($10 million) to counter the extremely effective “Mac vs PC” ads that have been a thorn in the elephant’s foot. Vista has not been the overwhelming success Microsoft hoped for and its quest to counter negative perceptions among hesitant consumers now takes to the airwaves in a serious way.

Having spent some time in the corporate world, one thing you learn is that every corporation has a personality, more commonly called “corporate culture”. The worst and least effective advertising a corporation can mount is a campaign that is so at odds with its “corporate culture” that the intended effect is the opposite – ridicule being high up on the list.

I can’t tell you that this video is Microsoft’s for real, but it sure is typical of corporate group-think HERE.

I liked Seinfeld in its day, but for me it’s now a little long in the tooth in re-runs. I haven’t seen much of Jerry Seinfeld of late and one could argue that perhaps he’s “Jumped the Shark”. I find it interesting that Apple’s approach used relative unknowns with devastating effectiveness, no doubt helped by the veracity of the message.

Microsoft’s approach is to take a known personality to deliver well crafted lines to “hip” their image. How well that will be received and what positive effects this will have for Microsoft is going to be a topic of great interest, particularly because the more it varies from reality, the more it will be viewed negatively. In my book, ads that mirror reality will be lots more effective than ads that try to portray what is not.

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