Memo to Microsoft: Cancel Your Ad Campign and Save the Money

So now we know the big scret: Microsoft is going to tell PC users why it’s okay to be PC users. Yeah, that ought to work.

Let me say a couple of things at the outset. Bill Gates is awesome. He is a tech genius, he is a business genius and he is proving to be an amazing humanitarian. And although PCs are not even close to being as effective, functional, intuitive and fun as Macs, they serve a purpose… and they are cheap. I own one of each. I prefer Mac beacuse it is an infinitely more usable computer. But this isn’t about PC vs. Mac; it’s about wasteful marketing.

Does anyone actually believe that spending millions upon millions of dollars ($300 million to be precise) to convince PC users that they should feel good about being PC users, is actually going to serve a purpose? In case you haven’t heard, you can put lipstick on a mannequin. It’s still a mannequin.

Maybe I am thickheaded. Okay, I AM thinkheaded. But what is the point of this massive ad expenditure?

Unlike the classic Volkwagen Beetle ad campaign from the 1960s, which embraced its true identity as a small, sensible, affordable car, Microsoft and Crispin Porter + Bogusky are marketing Windows as “Life without walls.” Huh?

On September 15, 2008, PC World Magazine ran an article titled: “Ten fixes for Vista’s worst features.” Here are the first two paragraphs of the article:

Just ask anyone who’s seen Spiderman 3: Good ideas seldom survive bad execution.

The developers at Microsoft had some great ideas while designing Vista, but poor implementation turned many of those great concepts into lousy, annoying features. To be fair, Vista inherited most of these well-intentioned flaws from earlier versions of Windows — but it either failed to fix them or didn’t even try.

I would call that a wall… a very big wall. And all the advertising in the world is not going to make me think otherwise. So, in the words of Jerry Seinfeld, “good luck with all that!”

Jim Sweeney


Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.