Issue: Windows Vista Ships – Microsoft Announces $500mm Ad Spend
Commentary by: David Vinjamuri
After over five years, Microsoft is shipping a new operating system, Windows Vista.
Just like the Windows launches of yore, Microsoft is trying to make this a big event (remember the Rolling Stones licensing “Start Me Up” for a Windows launch as their first major sell-out to commercialism).
And this time, Microsoft is upping the ante – literally. AdAge reports that Microsoft will invest an eye-popping $500mm to support the Vista launch.
From a branding perspective, this is an obscene waste of money. Why?
- More frequency isn’t better:
Microsoft will overdeliver advertising to many television watchers causing ad fatigue and risking a significant backlash against the company.
- A technology company should spend smarter:
Instead of creating a clever viral or online campaign Microsoft is blowing the conventional media trumpet and essentially proving that it just doesn’t understand the modern consumer or the Internet.
- Vista Will Achieve 90% Market Share with $0 Spend Anyway:
Which makes it incredibly difficult to understand why Microsoft is advertising to begin with. This is a distribution play – Microsoft will ship Vista with every PC sold in the world in just a few months. Companies will be forced to migrate to stay in synch with the market.
Taken together, these three elements make us think that Microsoft just doesn’t understand how the terrain has shifted underneath them in the years since Windows 3.0 originally launched. Even this advertising blog knows it’s not about the operating system any more. Vista is an important release for Microsoft simply because Windows has too many security holes and is giving consumers an excuse to migrate to Apple’s OS-X. Instead of a consumer company, the Windows division of Microsoft should think of themselves as an infrastructure company. The best publicity for this division would be to ensure that the new system works seamlessly, securely and that future releases trim the fat of unnecessary features that add complexity and bleed processing power.