August 22, 2008

Microsoft to Launch $300M Ad Campaign Featuring Jerry Seinfeld

Microsoft Corp. will debut a $300 million marketing initiative next month featuring comedian Jerry Seinfeld. The campaign, which will begin September 4, will center on a series of television ads in which Seinfeld will appear with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. 

The initiative is meant to polish the image of the No. 1 software maker's operating system.

Seinfeld, best known for his successful NBC sitcom, will receive about $10 for his participation, according to a Wall Street Journal report, which said the campaign is one of the largest in Microsoft's history.

A knowledgeable source told Reuters the overall objective of the campaign is to revitalize the brand image of Windows.  In particular, the ads aim to counter perceptions that Microsoft's latest operating system, Vista, is awkward and cumbersome compared with rival products from Apple Inc.

The ads, devised by the Miami-based ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky, will use a variation of the theme "Windows, Not Walls" and will center on the idea of removing barriers that prevent the sharing of ideas.

Although Seinfeld is the only celebrity involved in the campaign so far, the source said that others, such as actor Will Ferrell, are also being considered.

The campaign follows Apple's recent "Mac vs. PC" advertisements, which show an awkward PC geek bearing a slight resemblance to Gates struggling to keep up with a hip, attractive Mac counterpart.  The Apple ad portrays Windows as dull and unreliable, validating perceptions about Vista's hardware requirements, performance and lack of support for other software and devices.

The Redmond, Washington-based computer software giant has sold more than 180 million Vista licenses since the operating system was launched in 2007.  However, it continues to be viewed a failure, despite the company's claims to have worked out early problems with the operating system.

The Windows operating system is the most prized asset of Microsoft's $60 billion software empire, and runs on more than 90 percent of the world's computers. Profits generated from the sale of Windows fund the company's endeavors into new businesses, such as Zune music players and Xbox video games.


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