Microsoft to use more than ads to conquer users


— 6:00 AM on September 8, 2008

Last week, the first fruit of Microsoft's new $300-million Windows ad campaign popped onto YouTube. If you've missed it, the video ad shows Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld shopping for shoes—and that's it. The nonsensical aspect apparently fits into a broader strategy, though. Microsoft Windows Consumer Marketing VP Brad Brooks has given CNet News the lowdown on what's going on.

Brooks claims the ad is just a teaser meant to ease Microsoft back into the advertising scene, and he says it has fulfilled its purpose perfectly: "a lot of people" are talking about it. The campaign will stop not making any sense in roughly a month, at which point new ads will start highlighting "the breadth and choice that Windows allows" and drive home the notion that "Windows stands for living on your own terms." Those spots may even take indirect jabs at Apple's more closed-off Mac platform.

Microsoft has more up its sleeve than just sweet talk, however. CNet News says the company is unfolding "store-within-a-store" locations at brick-and-mortar retailers like Circuit City and Best Buy. With these, er, micro-stores, Microsoft will attempt to improve the experiences users have when purchasing Windows PCs and getting them up and running. Like Genius Bar staffers in Apple Stores, teams of "Windows Gurus" will help customers learn about the operating system, and their salaries will hinge "in large part" on customer satisfaction.

Incidentally, the bootup speed improvement team we talked about last week seems to be playing a part in Microsoft's outreach. According to CNet, Windows machines tweaked to boot up quicker will start appearing some time this fall from "all the major computer makers." Microsoft will pimp the systems on its website, too.

 
   
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