Archive for September 2008

Second Windows Ad Softly Candidates as Most Brazen Statement in IT History   Leave a comment

"New Family", the second ad in the series, clearly sets a few key points straight – as it wraps up with a breathtakingly brazen, if defensible and nicely put, statement about what Microsoft (says it) has always been and will be about.  
 
What happened?
 
First, the two questions the Conquistador ad left me with are clearly answered:
 
Q1: Too smart?
That ad sure was, this is probably easy enough to understand for anybody that has seen American sitcoms on TV, and that must be a few more than even have seen Windows.
This one is exactly smart – because it starts to position Microsoft and Windows clearly (once again, Windows rather than Vista).
And, by the way, it is funny, plus Mr. Gates does come across as a non professional actor doing a very good job at acting, which in turn makes him quite a bit more everyday and "real" than the typical product launch interview. I guess the latter may end up as one of the greatest outcomes of the whole series of ads, well worth a good share of the famous 300 millions.
 
Q2: Carosello?
You bet! Whoever reads this from outside Italy may need a minute’s research to confirm – try starting with this – still this is absolutely the "sketch" format of the typical Italian Carosello ads, down to the company owner sparring with a famous comedian and to the 90 seconds format. (For connoisseurs: yse, of course, Italian strict regulation from the public TV would have kept the Windows logo out of the story until the end, and rejected Jerry’s foot care on the pink frilly bed of a teen-age girl).
 
So, the jokes are more clear and the leading idea of the series begins to materialize – connecting with the Joneses of the world. 
What else? What is the message?
 
Here it gets interesting: the message has little to do with the Windows logo on WHG III’s backpack and lots to do with what is Microsoft about after all this time – and what it will strive to be for quite some more.
The message is in "connecting" and "real" people, as some blog comments clearly describe – see for instance Robert Palmer on The Unofficial Apple Weblog and PC World’s staff on their ‘Today’.
It’s rammed home by Jerry’s final comments about amoebas blogging and other very, very numerous and tiny animals missing any notion of fingertips showing up on the web.
It’s spelled out in ad’s closing written taglines – "TO BE CONNECTED" from part 1 to part 2, and "PERPETUALLY CONNECTED" at the end of the long version.
 
Indeed, the key message – the brazen message – is the one tying together three points on a background of real, everyday people.
The three points are Microsoft, Internet, and the PC itself (PERPETUALLY CONNECTED collapses into "PC" under the Windows logo, as we all certainly noticed).
The message is then: it has been Windows to give one billion people (quoth Seinfeld) PCs, then connect them. What will we get from Microsoft next? And how many of us will we be?
 
Now, as ads go, this seems a very smart way to get a very, very bold message across. Just possibly worth the rest of the 300 millions.

Posted September 14, 2008 by Gianluca Marcellino in Computer e Internet

Too smart? Carosello? The first Windows Ad in the New Campaign   Leave a comment

Probably best viewed on Microsoft’s site, at least for non-native English speakers like me who miss many words in the lower quality versions posted here and there.
 
As a non-native English speaker, however practicing and familiar with US IT and ad culture, I am clearly missing some of the language and the key puns.

Then I did read some of the comments on the blogs, and now I think I understand what may be the message: the lead is meant to come from Seinfeld’s opening offer to munch some comfort food.

Then the fact they walk away both munching, and get talking about comfort food – this peculiarly US notion – begins to make some sense. Even tying Windows (mind you, "Windows" – the logo is Vista’s, the name is "Windows") to comfort food.

The key challenge I still have is with "adjust your shorts" – and Bill Gates waving his hips or whatever the last punch actually says.

  • must refer to something that I am missing
  • will sound distasteful to offensive in many a culture, including some I am sure Microsoft targets here.
    In my personal one, for one, what this suggests is somebody uncomfortable with how their underwear if fitting, very possibly in a humid, wam weather climate

Let’s just say:

  • it’s very sophisticated (it even resembles Italian Carosello ads, 1957-1977, since it puts up a whopping one minute sketch, then gets to associate the story to the product in the last 30 seconds)
  • daringly plays with sensitive issues like daily cost of living and "minorities"
  • it’s completely US-focussed
  • Bill Gates plays it very, very well; still, choosing him as key role perpetuates a perception of Microsoft focussing internally

So, maybe it’s very good – and still, who will get it?

Or maybe it just has paved the way to the upcoming ones that will outsmart a million smart-ass bloggers in the world – yours truly included.

Posted September 6, 2008 by Gianluca Marcellino in Computer e Internet

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