Microsoft’s second phase of the new ad campaign began today, and Paul Thurrott is leg-humping it. Go here to see some screenshots of the TV and print spots.
Most importantly, read the “manifesto” (as Thurrott calls it) and it comes away as what Microsoft has been saying since the early 90s: If you want compatibility, you best stay with us. They also nod to an idea or two from Apple, but that’s par for the course.
The Microsoft “Manifesto”
So let’s take a look at some of this “manifesto”:
To start a dialog between hundreds of devices, billions of people, and a world of ideas.
Um, that would primarily be the Internet and open standards. Microsoft was late to the first party and is still primarily a no-show at the second. Using IE 8 beta 2 and seeing how many sites break when it runs in “compatible” mode is all you need do to satisfy yourself on that score.
To go on doing the little stuff, the big stuff, the crazy stuff…
Here’s to the crazy ones, eh? That sounds familiar…
It’s an approach to life. An approach dedicated to engineering the absence of anything that might stand in the way… of life.
Geez, Redmond, hyperbole much?
When the ad writer’s drama is turned down a notch, however, maybe what they’re saying is that they’re enabling the PC to help be the center of your life. Your digital life. A “digital hub”, if you will. Hmmm, this, too, rings a bell…
Today, more than one billion people have Windows.
Heh. I love this one.
Notice they don’t say “use Windows”, but rely on the meaningless “have Windows”. Naturally, this includes the machine with Windows for Workgroups 3.11 in your grandmother’s attic, which she got to store recipes on. She’s forgotten it’s even there, but Microsoft hasn’t.
There was no way Microsoft’s new ad campaign could avoid Redmond’s classic “big numbers” defense. It’s seemingly all they have, so I’m not surprised.
Which is just another way of saying we have each other.
Which is just another way of saying that since we have to be dragged kicking and screaming into anything resembling market competition and open standards, we’re telling you that if you “have Windows” you’ve got a shot at getting along with those who also “have Windows”. Otherwise, not so much.
Paul Thurrott’s Conclusion
So what does Mr. Thurrott make of all this? It’s as predictable as a sunrise:
Good stuff. And a sharp contrast to the what the other guy is doing. Humanity vs. smugness. Which side are you going to choose?
First and foremost, it’s a sad day when ad copy passes for “humanity” in Paul’s world.
Second, the Get a Mac campaign has never been smug. In the ads, “Mac” shows compassion and concern for “PC”, and we see the opposite as well. That, and the fact that they’re based on a kernel of truth, is why they’re so popular, work so well, and have required Microsoft to address them.
Finally, the “other guy”? Paul can’t even say “Apple”? Of course not. To say so in the above sentence would damage his continual cry about being unbiased. As if.
While I realize that tearing up ad copy would normally be a bit pointless, Thurrott has been on a mission the last year or so of nitpicking the Get a Mac campaign to death, so it seems fair game to look more critically at Microsoft’s new campaign.
What I see is a paragraph of what Thurrott considers “humanity”, mixed in with concepts from Apple’s older ad campaigns, Microsoft’s big numbers, touchy-feely wording, and an admonition to stick with Windows if you want stuff to work together. That’s a weak manifesto, yet strangely enough it defines Microsoft perfectly. Perhaps there’s truth in advertising after all.