I Think I’ve Got This Microsoft ‘Windows vs. Walls’ Thing Figured Out.

Who would’ve thought Microsoft would use such symbolism? I guess when you cough up $300 million for an ad campaign you really get what you pay for.

Below is the image displayed alongside the Microsoft “manifesto” in their new print ads:

What does it mean? I was initially puzzled, but now I see it. The message from Microsoft is obvious:

  1. The dark, enclosed room represents Windows Vista. The user is trapped.
  2. The power saw represents the Microsoft technology that can be used to free the user from his trap.
  3. Utilizing Microsoft’s tools, the user “breaks out” of Vista, finally seeing the light. He has escaped!

And what does the user see beyond the confines of Vista that will save him? What is he longingly gazing at “outside” that will restore his freedom?

Well, it looks a lot like this…

Clearly, Microsoft is saying that a downgrade to XP is the best move a Vista user can make. No wonder the ads don’t mention Vista, it’s not the “Windows” Microsoft is talking about.

8 thoughts on “I Think I’ve Got This Microsoft ‘Windows vs. Walls’ Thing Figured Out.

  1. The logo doesn’t fit the hole! The curves are around the wrong way. Unless of course the inner walls are brick and the outer cladding is that gib-board stuff. Stupid Windows! So easy to break! Try searching “virus” on the Apple site and the only result you get is: “Windows”. If people can’t figure out what the better OS is from that, then they are the bricks keeping Vista together. Without them it would just crumble into pieces.

  2. Great analysis! 🙂

    But just to add a minor point from a picky ad-watcher…

    It seems like the piece that is cut out on the floor would not fit in the hole made in the wall, unless all the studs in the house are at a 30 degree angle to the headers and sill plates because the visible stud in the cut out piece runs parallel to the side of the Windows logo shape.

    That’s some crazy house!

    Not a big mistake, but again you’d think with all that money someone would have noticed before it went live.

  3. Michael makes a great point. I had felt that something didn’t sit right with me about the new MS ads. He makes it clear for me when he points out that in the Apple ads the characters are anthropomorphisms, not real people. In the MS ad they are supposedly real people which casts things in a different light altogether. The ads try to deflect an imagined criticism. The Apple ads never attack end users. The Apple ads don’t try to make Apple look “cool”. It seems to me that that characterization comes from PC users as an imagined claim. I’m sure what that means.

  4. Has anyone else noticed that the blade on the Sawzall in that guy’s hand is nowhere near long enough to cut through the wall in front of him? Also, the plaster board he cut out looks like it is at least 3 inches thick.


  5. I’m kinda confused. The ad is really cool. and when I say that I mean it’s well made and interesting but I still don’t understand the message. Let’s use windows to see……..outside. well we use that already.

    What do we have to escape from? (other than windows itself 🙂 )

  6. Windows without walls. Think about that. Don’t you need a wall in order to have a window?

    Let’s just be glad that Microsoft is not in charge of creating awareness and excitement for the Large Hadron Collider as we’d end up with the tag line: Gravity without Mass.

  7. Microsoft has been reduced to the level of a special interest demagogue. The ‘I’m a PC’ ad has the arc of a political smear.

    First establish that the identity of your audience is in question. “I’ve been made into a stereotype.” While this is just untrue, Hodgeman’s character is an anthropomorphism not a stereotype, the lie is needed to shift the context from criticism of an inanimate object to a question of personal identity; the users’.

    Second establish the vulnerable point in the targets self-esteem. “I am not what most people would call hip.” While I have no idea what that objectively has to do with being a ‘PC’, it focuses attention on the insecurity many feel about how socially accepted they are, and lays the groundwork for suggesting a source of attack on that vulnerability.

    Third insinuate specific, concrete attacks on personal self worth. “I wear glasses” from three different ‘PC’s’. Now nowhere have PC users been attacked for wearing spectacles, but the implication is clear, your perceived worth is under assault. “People like us wear glasses, people like us are stereotyped as not hip.”

    The “I wear jeans” (‘I’m cool, no really’) and “I have a beard” (just bizarre) elements aren’t as strong but lead into the next phase.

    Fourth present a palliative associated with PCs. “I have three rings” and “I have one ring” seem ridiculously unrelated to any advantage to be gained by using a PC. Did the PC bat for the baseball player, did the woman in the lounge chair get her husband on an internet dating service? But wait, they are PCs and you as the target audience, you use PCs, you can feel validated by their accomplishments!

    Finally present yourself as the champion of the injured identity. Encourage the poor fools to buy Windows boxes and give money to Microsoft to feel better about themselves. “Take that Apple! Microsoft doesn’t hate me because I’m nearsighted! Here, $51 billion company, take my discretionary income!”

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