updated 10:45 pm EDT, Thu September 10, 2009
Microsoft's first TV spot for Windows 7
Microsoft tonight reversed course on its ad strategy with the launch of its first Windows 7 ad. The 30-second TV spot (seen below) draws on the same little girl, Kylie, that starred in a Windows Live Photo Gallery ad in February and avoids the pseudo-realistic but targeted anti-Apple attacks that have characterized the "Laptop Hunters" ads. Instead, the commercial is uniformly positive and has Kylie say she's discovered "happy" words about Windows 7 from reviews, which she then puts into a slideshow using Windows Movie Maker.
The ad reflects a cautious optimism at Microsoft, which with Windows 7 has fixed a large number of the performance and compatibility issues that affected Vista as well as produced more meaningful user interface changes, such as the revamped Windows taskbar. During both the "Laptop Hunters" campaign as well as the preceding Gates/Seinfeld ads, Microsoft conspicuously avoided mentioning Vista and often focused on the cost of the hardware versus Macs or the implied greater choice behind the Windows brand.
The reliance on cost is believed to have hurt Apple initially but lost momentum as lower-priced MacBook Pros forced Microsoft to trim its ads and spurred a resurgence in notebook sales for Apple.