What's wrong with Microsoft advertising? We all know they have an issue, but not all of us know what they're capable of. Microsoft has some truly hilarious videos they share internally and at conferences, but they don't always make it out to see the light of day. It's too bad, because that would go a long way. These videos aren't about selling products, they're simply about having fun. That's kind of what the Apple switch ads are, but what's annoying about those ads is that they're far from truthful, in most cases, and aren't about what's good in Mac. I can only remember one of two dozen or so ads that even talks about features of the Mac. Those ads are more about spreading FUD than truth... albeit in a humorous manner. You won't see this kind of ad campaign from Microsoft. Microsoft has a policy not to talk about how other products aren't as good as theirs. Instead, we talk about the strengths of Microsoft's product line.
I will say the Gates+Seinfeld ads (1, 2) threw me off -- like they did most people, it seems -- but I've also heard a lot of people enjoying them. Sure, it didn't make anyone run out to buy a new computer, but I don't think that was the purpose. I can only assume the purpose was to entertain and create some buzz. That's exactly what happened. I have no idea why they stopped after 2 ads, tho. Switching it up to the "I'm a PC" campaign was very awkward. Don't get me wrong, I like the ads; I just wanted to see where the other ads were going. This is all too familiar to me, considering the number of TV series I've watched that were mysteriously cancelled in mid-season. I was curious where they were going and hope they aren't done, yet. All I can do is assume they're trying to build up anticipation for a miraculous return. I just hope the break isn't too long, because people will forget. We have lives; we move on.
On an old episode of This Week in Tech, there was a discussion about Microsoft's ad campaign. I remember it because one person essentially likened the Apple switch and "I'm a PC" campaigns to a high school bully (Apple) stuffing a geeky kid (Microsoft, or, the "PC") into a locker. Actually, he phrased it as, "stop hitting me, stop hitting me," speaking to the "I'm a PC" ads in response to the switch ads. I totally agree. I don't think that's what the ads were supposed to mean, but that is exactly what they look like. I say all this, but I do like the ads. They show the diversity of Windows users.
With all that, I wish Microsoft would bring it down to a human level, which is what Google does. I recently saw a video about Google 411 and thought it was great. I just don't know why Microsoft can't do things like this. We have some great talent within the company -- very creative and innovative people that want there to be a better view of the company, but there's not much we can do, it seems. It's a sad state for ad agencies, if they can't come up with better concepts.