Tonight, during The Office, Microsoft began airing its “phase 2″ of their $300 million ad campaign (after giving Seinfeld the boot) which features regular, everyday users saying “I’m A PC”…yes, it’s a direct response to Apple’s I’m A Mac/I’m A PC ads.
The ads are actually better than I thought they’d be but something still just doesn’t sit right for me. I still don’t feel like they’re selling their brand or even their products. Sure, all of these people say they are “a PC”, but I’m not sure everyone will equate that to the Microsoft brand.
As John Gruber so eloquently put it, the problem here isn’t that the ads themselves are bad – in fact they are quite well made – the problem is that Microsoft effectively doesn’t have anything to sell. They don’t stand for anything. They’re just there. A “blah” company, if you will.
Where Microsoft is so painfully failing is that they don’t have a product worth selling. They can thrown money at branding campaigns but until they have something that actually creates a positive user experience for the masses, they’ll always been throwing away money by trying to improve their brand perception.
At the end of the day Microsoft has a fundamental product problem, not a brand problem.
Here are a few different versions of the new ads. Check them out and let me know what you think.