So after seeing the new brand of Microsoft commercials for the past couple of months I’ve come to some realization about where and how Microsoft is hitting off the mark.
The first set of these new commercials feature Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates involved in what seems like a take on reality television, quip/random line filled, asides. It also seems here like they’re taking the approach that Pepsi’s Sierra Mist went with likable comedians being slightly comical in a weird but memorable sort of way. The difference is the product.
People know more and more that their computers, and how their computers operate, can either put them ahead, in, or behind the game. Mac created a straight forward/simple platform with recognizable characters and a guaranteed laugh that at worst was cute at best was brilliant. But the point was clear every time, Macs are easy to use and make the world easier for you.
Alternately, Microsoft made Bill Gates a character that is not recognizable to us as Bill Gates (I still have in my mind the self-haircut-giving man of smarts; not funny.) To further confuse us the humor is nonsensical and not relatable. It gives you the feeling that these two wizards of their craft are on another plane, wandering above the earth like in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. I like it but it doesn’t sell. Jerry is the only part that’s recognizable and that may be the grace that floats the commercial.
Though the brands buoyancy may be futile, with the news breaking that the commercials that try to fire back at Mac’s model (I’m a PC and I’ve been made into a stereotype) were in fact made partially with the help of Macs.
It all works to confound the dichotomy of the two brands. Mac is easy to use and Microsoft has problems. Mac is a square and a rectangle but Microsoft is just a square.
It’s in the final set of Microsoft’s new commercials, the Mojave Experiment, that I found my realization. They keep using a model that’s not new, they’re not adapting. Now I’m going to go ahead and assume that the problem isn’t that they’re stupid over there in Gates territory; but then what is it? Is it that they’ve finally mutated completely from being the enlightened and progressive company of the future to being simply close-minded? It has to be, a closed-minded view would explain all the symptoms as to why a company with such vast resources keeps hitting the hurdle. It doesn’t mean you’re stupid, but it does means that your processes are selling you, your colleagues and your community short.
The easiest way to grow is to sell to people who share a worldview that endorse your position i.e. the older generations and older offices have PC’s and the new and younger generations and offices have Macs. People like what they know and if you want them to change you better find a good reason why they should; otherwise you do not exist. The most effective way to grow bigger is to inform those that disagree with your position; this is exactly what Mac has done. Mac provides more data in an appetizing form, it is the edible delicious computer that Seinfeld has Gates twitching his tidy whiteys for (just an assumption on the drawers choice.)