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Microsoft shares its strange view of the Windows family again

Microsoft's holiday television advertising campaign shows everyone why it is a great time to be a family –- whatever that means.

I will be the first to admit that I don't know much about advertising. I know what it is, and I know that sometimes an advertisement will catch my attention. Heck, every so often, I may actually remember a product name because of a well-constructed advertisement.

I also know, and agree with many TechRepublic members who have posted in the discussion forums, that Microsoft does not always produce the most effective advertisements. Everyone flashback to Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates visiting people's homes.

 

Well, Microsoft is at it again, with a recent television advertising campaign that suggests "it is a great time to be a family." The series of holiday ads shows families enjoying each other's company while taking advantage of interactive and multimedia technology. Check it out:

 

Now, I will reiterate that I know little about advertising, but I don't understand what I am supposed to get from these ads. I mean, when has it not been a great time to be a family? Perhaps you can explain it to me. Is it a generational thing? Am I just too old to get it? Or is there no "it" to get? (Note the tiles at the end -- I did catch that.)

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About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

30 comments
barg8
barg8

I don't think yo have to get it. Look at the number of comments, here. MS is getting buzz off their quirky ads. Sometimes if your ads are too slick, people forget the product.

jayohem
jayohem

Liked the Seinfeld-Gates endeavor. Didn't notice much of a sales pitch, and it's not laugh out loud humor even though the "family" seemed to be filing the roles of the Seinfeld TV minor characters, those inexplicable beings Jerry, Elaine, Goerge, and Kramer encountered in every episode. As for the second item, what were we talking about? I know a less expensive way for MS to sell Windows 7 to the XP generation, and it wouldn't take a complicated ad campaign. Lower the price.

jasondlnd
jasondlnd

The Microsoft ads seem to be really sarcastic. A family with ingrate children posting a youtube video of their father playing with the Kinnect on the XBox, with the words "Tech-NO" over it? Really classy.... Now, compare the above ad above to this one with heart: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diUjVY8zRJc&feature=relmfu Tell me which one makes you smile :)

boomchuck1
boomchuck1

I actually thought the Jerry & Bill ads were pretty funny, in a Seinfeld sort of way. They didn't make me rush out and buy a PC, but then I can't think of any ad other than one touting the prices at Office Depot or Best Buy have. This family ad for MS reminds me, content wise, of the old Apple ads where people were using their Mac to put together a personal mix of songs on a CD. Yeah, that was sometime back I know, but all it was doing was showing you something you could do with your computer that was fun. Pretty much the same idea as this ad.

JJFitz
JJFitz

because your kids will post it on the internet to prove to the world that you are a goof-ball. I know from personal experience that this happens. :(

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

NO personal computer is on my shopping list, W7 or otherwise. Some of those voting 'No' are getting computers with other OSs, some no computer at all, some may retrofit to XP.

thoms1942
thoms1942

Since retiring, I find my needs for a computer minimized!! With the ads for Windows 8, I am really looking at open source!!! Retirement means saving money where possible and my computers are all dual core, with plenty of ram, ans storage, so I am seriously considering Linux in one form or another, rather than the pricey option of upgrading to Win 8. I have been happy with Open office and Libre Office!!!

BobManGM
BobManGM

I don't think the MS commercials are anything special, but "Is a Windows 7 PC on your holiday shopping list?" seems to miss the boat too. This is Tech Republic...I've had my Win7 machines for a while now and I'm SURE I'm not alone. This is the wrong question for this audience. Bob

mudpuppy1
mudpuppy1

Just look at their product names: Word, Surface, Paint, WordPad, Notepad, even Windows and DOS. There are others I can't think of at the moment (not coffeed-up yet) and the analogy fails at some point, but you get the idea. Not that there's anything wrong with that. A rose by any other name.... Yeah, their ads do leave something to be desired. It's like they are trying too hard to be cool. As for buying a Win 7 PC, my PCs are all of relatively recent vintage and serve us well, so no. They all have Win 7 installed anyway (except the one test box with Win 8). I upgraded from XP as soon as it was available.

seanferd
seanferd

Or, they've been steering the ads themselves. MS is just so, obvious with their ads. Not very sophisticated. Not that I have much respect for advertising or marketing of any sort. It's just that with MS, it's like, I see what you were trying to do there, nice try, thanks for playing, didn't work, see you next time. Start me up.

Muttz
Muttz

Maybe it would make more sense if they showed the grandparents or a college kid being able to participate in a family celebration through a lwebcam on a Windows PC. That would convey a message. Windows connects your family. The Bill and Jerry ads were strange enough. This is no better. They should fire their advertising firm.

wizard57m-cnet
wizard57m-cnet

It seems, from the scenes of Kinect and XBox 360, then flash over to the WinPC, that this is to convey some sense of "family" of devices used by the family. However, I don't usually get stirred by advertising anyway.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Intellectually, I understand what Microsoft is trying to convey, but, to put it diplomatically, I think there is room for improvement. Do you like the commercials? Is a Windows 7 PC on your holiday shopping list?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Sometimes it just results in confusion. What's up with those bathtubs, anyway?

Rndmacts
Rndmacts

When she says "Promise not to lie" and then he does, is like Apple saying it won't lie to you and then proceeds to hock a substandard product, their ads are cute but hardly truthful. As to the Microsoft ad, I am not sure which family of products they are trying to sell, the smartphone - notebook - kinect/Xbox or is the shared software experience, that has been a problem with Microsoft and its advertising. Never quite sure which market they are addressing.

james.jensen1350
james.jensen1350

Oh, yes. The Apple ad wins, hands down. Of course, it doesn't urge me to get my feet moving in the direction of the nearest Apple Store, but it does associate a real human response with the Apple brand. Chances are that your brain will make the association with the ad when you happen to see another iPhone. Like the author said, I'm not aware of the science behind advertising, but I think that the way Apple brought its product together with a very human story is one of the better devices.

mckinnej
mckinnej

The modern version of being "grounded". Take away their phone for a month. Might as well be a death sentence.

radleym
radleym

A year ago I bought a Nook Color, and rooted it to CM7 (a technically easy and safe operation). I've been using it for several hours/day ever since for email, web browsing, reading and watching video (as well as providing background music for many activities). As a heavy computer user before retiring, I was surprised to see how many of my needs were filled by this (then) $250 machine.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

...there's another boat on the way. I think Mark understands that a lot of people are still running XP, but may be in the market for a new PC. Edit: And if I was viewing the entire discussion and not single posts, I would have seen that Mark already told you that... :|

sboverie
sboverie

I was thinking the same thing, I already have Win 7 so why would I buy another computer? The votes should have been yes, no, already have Win 7.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I have taken several polls since Windows 7 released and in each one, over 75% were still using Windows XP.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

You make a grown man cry. You make a grown man cry.

OH Smeg
OH Smeg

It was some sort of [i]"Family"[/i] of devices using the Family for it's own ends. Sort of like Skynet before it started to kill off the trouble makers who could damage the planet. Or better Still the Matrix. :0 Col

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

...like we all know, only scary hacker kids want those "L00nix" systems. :p

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Coors had a series of ads featuring head honcho Pete Coors ambling around a mountain top, talking about the family product, surrounded by snow-covered firs and spruce and the glory of the Rocky Mountains. They're the only commercials that ever made me want to get in the car and go buy a six pack of beer. Mind you, they didn't make me want to buy HIS beer...

JJFitz
JJFitz

On the minus side, they can be too quick to post. On the plus side, they can troubleshoot and solve computer problems for themselves and their friends.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Buy your kid an Apple and he will have it tattooed on his butt, or she'll color her hair in the 'Fruit Stripes' corporate hues.