Ceci n’est pas un commercial

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Unfortunately , like some other people, I have not yet completely succeeded in understanding the deeper thinking behind Microsoft’s new commercial, part of a 300 million dollar campaign to improve the company’s credibility and sympathy factor. But it would be all too easy to simply join the nah sayers. The first episode is, well, definitely […]

Unfortunately , like some other people, I have not yet completely succeeded in understanding the deeper thinking behind Microsoft’s new commercial, part of a 300 million dollar campaign to improve the company’s credibility and sympathy factor. But it would be all too easy to simply join the nah sayers.
The first episode is, well, definitely different. But let’s assume that it will turn out to be the deceiving prelude to a great series. And it is a good thing that Microsoft did not fall into the trap of competing with the Macintosh ads. Features are irrelevant anyway, as proven by Apple that manages to sell a so-so phone to a huge base of forgiving fans / clients. Or as proven by Asus with their successful, complete trimmed down mini laptop. Or as proven by Google, that shakes the market with their minimalistic browser .
The challenge for Microsoft is not to show that Vista has superior features. It is to claim their place in a changed world in which technology is becoming ubiquitous, or even invisible. So what could you do? You hire Jerry Seinfeld who is known for his ‘show about nothing’. And you create a first ad which sets a stage that is far away from technology, content and shiny features. Bill Gates buying cheap shoes, eating a Mexican churro, socialising with Seinfeld, even waggling his derriere. Nothing about Vista, just a small logo at the end and a few words about a future that will be ‘ delicious’.
That is not a commercial. That is the denial of a commercial. The future of Vista is not Windows 7, it is somewhere in the cloud. You are just looking in the wrong direction.
Think about it, we may have high expectations of the next commercial. French surrealism possibly – they should check with some of my colleagues – or a postmodern version of the Dead Parrot Scene. Seinfeld enters a computer store with a completely crushed laptop. He’s trying to convince Gates (who wears a colourful poncho) that he has sold him a broken computer. Gates refuses to admit: that PC is perfectly fine – it will be delicious actually – Seinfeld is just not getting the point. Yet.

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