Microsoft TV Ads Produced Mixed Results

In September 2008 Microsoft launched a new and rather odd campaign featuring former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates and comedian Jerry Seinfeld. The first was the Gates-Seinfeld Shoe Store Commercial, which if anything confused viewers as to what Microsoft was trying to advertise. They continued with two more commercials with Gates and Seinfeld living with a new family. About two weeks later, Microsoft shifted directions and launched a new campaign, I’m A PC.

The New York Times ran an article today citing a study done by Brand Keys, a New York market research company. The study looked at how the ads changed perceptions of the Microsoft brand among 400 Apple and Microsoft users. There were asked their thoughts about the Apple and Microsoft brands before and after seeing the ads. The results of this study, while mixed and not good for Microsoft. Overall, those users who saw the Seinfeld ads “had a more negative perception of Microsoft in the areas of innovation, technology, trouble-free design, and warranty and pricing.” However,the I’m a PC commercials fared much better and “worked well to lift PC users’ perception of the brand as technologically and environmentally advanced.”

In the article, Amy Shea, the executive vice president at Brand Keys said “When you see an ad perform this poorly, you’ve got a real problem.” Actually, I am not really surprised by the results of the Seinfeld ads. The biggest problem with the Shoe Store commercials besides being rather unfunny was most viewers had no idea what the ad meant or for that matter what Microsoft was trying to advertise. Further it seemed more like a low-budget/amateur commercial.  The follow-up ads were not much better and again viewers really had no idea what products/services Microsoft was trying to advertise. The I’m a PC ads, were very clear and very professionally well done.

Source: Microsoft Blog