Microsoft’s Persona

In light of the previous post’s comments on Apple, it is interesting to examine the Seinfeld and Gates videos from Microsoft. Ben McConnell from the Church of the Customer Blog writes:

There sure are a lot of “I don’t get it” comments out there about Microsoft’s ad campaign featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates . . . The comments are everywhere . . . Which is part of the point . . . Microsoft is in the process of reframing the discussion about Microsoft. It is building a new persona.

At our place, the skits have generated a lot of, “huhs.” But they are totally watched with lively discussion afterward. We laugh a little, but mostly furrow our brows and discuss, “what is Microsoft trying to say?” “What are they trying to sell?”

Which is remarkable. Microsoft is now, again, a part of the discussion. This is a risky and sometimes gutsy strategy. They won’t be able to point to a definite ROI, but they have been oft-maligned over the last years, so it necessitates that it is time for them to become again a part of the discussion.

Features and benefits are important, but conversation is vital. What is most remarkable with their campaign is that that is what they have become. That is—they are worth, once again, talking about. Even if we don’t get it completely now, they have our attention and can, as McConnell points out, reframe our perceptions.

And now they have a bit more of a chance to win the perception battle.

UPDATE 9/19/2008: Second update today. I guess there has been an update on these ads. I really don’t believe either side (media or corporation) completely, but we are paying attention now.

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