Ad wars: Microsoft takes a bite out of Apple; Hires comedian Jerry Seinfeld to promote Vista

August 23, 2008

jerry_seinfeld.jpgTired of taking the beating from Apple in its Mac vs. PC commercials, Microsoft has decided to put on the gloves and fight back. The ad campaign is being created by MDC Partners’ Crispin Porter + Bogusky.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft, the software giant, has a new 300 million dollar advertising campaign and it has hired comedian Jerry Seinfeld to help it take a bite out of Apple. The commercials theme will be “Windows, not Walls” a dig at Apple’s closed environment. At the moment, not too much is known about what the commercials will involve since Microsoft is keeping this information closely guarded. Seinfeld will be appearing alongside Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates in the upcoming ads and he will be paid $10 million dollars for the work. It will be interesting to see what the ads involve.

Seinfeld is an interesting choice for the upcoming commercials, Jerry Seinfeld had an extremely popular show named Seinfeld in the 90’s. The show originally aired from July 5, 1989 to May 14, 1998. According to the Arthur Nielsen Media Research Ratings it finished among the top two every year from 1994 to 1998. I think I’ve seen every episode of Seinfeld and one thing that was seen in the far corner of Seinfeld’s apartment was a Macintosh computer. Over the years, it got upgraded to a newer Mac. In fact, at one point during the series he even had a 20th anniversary Mac on his desktop.

Seinfeld also appeared in Apple’s Think Big commercials. It sort of makes you wonder if Microsoft knew this before hiring him. Perhaps the angle they are going for is views from a Mac switcher? Then again John Hodgman, the man who plays PC in the Apple commercials, is an Apple user. Hodgman spilled the beans to the New York Daily News a few months ago.

Although Microsoft has sold more than 180 million Vista licenses since its release in 2007. Critics claim that it still continues to suffer largely due in part to the perception that its release was a flap. Apple’s commercials which constantly poke fun at Vista just ads fuel to the fire. Microsoft has said that the early problems many experienced with the operating system has been resolved.

It will be interesting to see what Microsoft will unveil with the upcoming ads. One of the reasons that the Apple ads have been so popular is that Apple has pointed out the flaws that we as computer owners occasionally experience. I really liked the fact that Apple focused on that the computer can be the problem, not the owner. A lot of Apple’s ads have focused on Vista.

It’s not surprising that Microsoft has finally decided to target Apple in its upcoming campaign. Apple’s recent success has been phenomenal and even though Microsoft is still the reigning champ I imagine Apple’s success along with the Mac vs. Pc commercials aren’t so funny anymore. So when will the ads appear? WSJ reports that we can expect to see them in early September. WSJ also stated that Chris Rock and Will Ferrel (Ferrel starred in Mac switcher ads years ago) might also appear in some of the ads.

BLORGE writer, John Lister, has covered this on Vista.Blorge.com.

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