But I am thinking Crispin Porter Bodusky's new Microsoft Strategy may actually be to be "un-cool"...and if it is, I think this is absolutely brilliant.
Ok so first off...
The Work (or clues):
- Sienfeld+Gates advertising campaign: Paying (very publicly) huge amount of money on talent for a campaign that had a convoluted SMI and had the majority of the world scratching their heads (and critics salivating). Ads end up getting pulled after 2 TVCs, being replaced with a more predicatable "I am PC" spots.
- T-Shirts...yes T-Shirts focusing on the utter "geekiness" of MS. I mean for what reason would Microsoft ever advertise DOS? Having worked a bit for them in a past life - the last thing you would ever promote is something that has anything to do with a command line to a non .NET/Vbasic/etc target.
- Microsoft releases "Songsmith" video on their site and on YouTube (added Jan 8, 151k views/785 comments). Universally panned as "lame" "horrible" etc.... Yet amazingly, it still remains on the MS corporate site.
Ok, so here is my theory. CP+B knew trying to change MS's image to compete directly with Apple's was going to be a daunting task. Any campaign that attempted to shift MS's brand from the "evil empire" to cool, hip, etc would be viewed with skepticism and disdain by the general public. So what do you do?
You embrace the geek. You embrace not trying to be cooler than Apple, but being the awkwardly geeky brand and create a buzz around their core essence - they are technologists first, marketers second.
Ok, could be wrong. But remember this is coming from (arguably) the world's premier agency. Do we really think thy would make this many mis-steps for a single client? My guess is nope.
Some Related Links:
(Big ups @scottsinclair for sparking this train of thought)