Slate on Microsoft’s Recent Spate of Ads
In Slate, Seth Stevenson tears into Microsoft’s dimishing brand strength via Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s recent ads for Microsoft featuring children (like the one below) and JWT’s unimaginative ad for Microsoft’s Quiksilver. He argues that while the ads are bad in themselves (CP+B’s ‘fratty snark’ is apparently not a match for Microsoft’s inherent unhipness and JWT’s ads are ‘even worse than CP+B’s’), the main problem lies in the brand itself. To be fair, Stevenson admits disliking Crispin intensely. Still, he somehow comes out and says about Microsoft what a lot of people perhaps think.
From the article:
According to BusinessWeek, Microsoft is “facing the most serious competitive threats in its history.” Its operating system is being challenged by Linux, Mac, mobile-phone, and netbook platforms. Its software applications are being replicated by cloud-computing services such as the ones offered by Google. In general, while still hugely powerful, Microsoft seems uncertain and off balance.
Which may be why the “laptop hunters” ads have so far mentioned Apple, HP, and Sony, and why JWT’s ads put the spotlight on companies like Quiksilver, Method, and Coca-Cola. When your own brand is a mess, you’d much rather talk about someone else’s. And when the foundations of your business are starting to sprout a few cracks, even the slickest advertising in the world can’t paper them over.
A well argued and thought-provoking piece, even if you do happen to be a Microsoft supporter.