September 19, 2008
As part of its recently launched, $300 million Windows promotional campaign, Microsoft is asking computer users to upload to its Web site video clips of themselves using the company's products while expressing loyalty to Microsoft by declaring, "I'm a PC."
"We know we have supporters and fanboys and enthusiasts who have been wanting to have a platform where they can talk about why they like PCs," said David Webster, Microsoft's brand marketing general manager, in an interview Thursday. "There's an amazingly diverse array of people who do great, interesting, and even boring things with their PC every day. It's their story we want to tell because it's our story, too," said Webster. To be part of the campaign, PC users can upload their videos to Microsoft's Windows.com Web site. Microsoft said it would select some of the user-generated content to run in online advertisements and on the giant video board in New York City's Times Square. The "I'm A PC" Web site is part of the second phase of a wide-reaching advertising and promotional campaign that's designed to burnish the Windows franchise's somewhat staid image. The second phase also includes a new 60-second television spot called "Pride," which aims to challenge the notion, instilled by Apple's highly successful "Get a Mac" advertisements, that Windows users tend to be dull, middle-management types. "I'm a PC, and I've been made into a stereotype," says an actor in the commercial, mimicking Apple "PC Guy" John Hodgeman. The ad continues with an eclectic group of individuals from various walks of life --musicians, researchers, farmers, merchants, and even Bill Gates himself -- testifying that "I'm a PC." It debuted during Thursday evening's broadcast of The Office on NBC. The ad replaces a pair of TV spots in which Gates and comedian Jerry Seinfeld roamed the country trying to connect with everyday Americans -- a sign that Microsoft may have conceded that its software development process has become too detached from the wants and needs of typical computer users. Microsoft said that the Seinfeld commercials were only intended to run for two weeks and were meant to "tease" the broader "I'm a PC" campaign. "We didn't want to string people along to the point where it would become frustrating," said Webster, explaining Microsoft's decision to move quickly into the second phase of the campaign.
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