updated 10:55 pm EDT, Thu September 18, 2008
Microsoft Im a PC Ad Airs
Microsoft tonight aired its first second-phase ad and started its more direct campaign to combat the image portrayed by Apple. Shifting significantly from the company's approach of avoiding Windows discussion, the spot begins by playing on Apple's "I'm a PC" message but calling it a "stereotype" with a replica of John Hodgman's character; it quickly shifts to reveal different users in different fields of work ranging from astronauts to teachers, all of whom repeat the "I'm a PC" mantra to illustrate how Windows PCs are used in many different situations than what Apple implies.
Several celebrities are visible throughout the campaign, including company co-founder Bill Gates, Deepak Chopra, and Eva Longoria; Microsoft employees, including Gates, have an @windows.com e-mail address attached to their appearances to emphasize their human connection.
Two shorter ads have also appeared with a similar exploration of the theme where people in various jobs explain how they wear different kinds of suits or are not alone, again tackling what Microsoft perceives as stereotypes of the average Windows user.
Although more to-the-point than the previous Seinfeld ads, the new commercials again largely avoids mentioning the product and echoes the previous strategy of flashing the Windows logo at the end, hinting that the longer campaign will avert the direct comparisons used by the Mac maker and instead attempt to create a positive message; the ads are being combined with a similarly upbeat approach in third-party stores, where Microsoft plans to mimic Apple's retail staff with Microsoft Gurus that promote the advantages of Windows Vista and its component apps before the sale.