Jerry Seinfeld Loves His PC

Microsoft debuted a new ad featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates to kick off a campaign that is part of a larger effort to connect with consumers and tell the Windows story. Watch the ad.Microsoft Kicks off new Windows Campaign with Star Power

Microsoft debuted a new ad featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates to kick off a campaign that is part of a larger effort to connect with consumers and tell the Windows story. Watch the ad.

REDMOND, Wash.(RUSHPRNEWS)09/05/2008 – “This is the Conquistador,” explains Jerry Seinfeld, showing a befuddled Bill Gates a brown loafer. “They run very tight.”

After seeing the new ad from Microsoft, which debuted today, some may wonder what Jerry Seinfeld helping Bill Gates pick out a new pair of shoes has to do with software. The answer, in the classic Seinfeld sense of the word, is nothing. Nevertheless, the spot is the first and most visible sign of an ambitious effort by Microsoft’s Windows business to reconnect with consumers around the globe.

The new campaign will highlight how Windows has become an indispensible part of the lives of a billion people around the globe — not only on PCs but also now online and via mobile devices. It will illustrate how Windows integrates consumer experiences across PCs, online and on mobile phones through Windows Vista, Windows Live and Windows Mobile.

Microsoft is working with retail partners and PC manufacturers to enhance the experience consumers have with Windows at every touch-point:
Major retailers, such as Circuit City and Best Buy, will begin rolling out Windows-branded sales environments and store-within-a-store concepts;
Major PC manufactures including HP, Dell, Sony and Lenovo are working with Microsoft to enhance key areas of the PC experience, including speeding up startup and shut-down time and sleep and resume speeds;
Windows.com has been revamped and will point consumer to specific Windows products and experiences that deliver.
These initial ads are the first in a creative campaign by the award-winning advertising agency Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, designed to spark a conversation about the Windows brand – a conversation that will evolve as the campaign progresses, but will always be marked by humor and humanity.

“Windows is entering a new chapter in our history,” says Bill Veghte, Senior Vice President, Online Services & Windows Business Group. “We’re renewing our commitment to consumers and working with our partners to deliver quality and value on the PC, across devices and across the Web.”

This effort extends to close collaboration with device manufacturers in optimizing performance, a renewed retail sales philosophy designed to help people understand their technology needs, and a new Web presence that serves people the same way in-store sales staff would.

Tapping Into the Potential of Windows

According to Brad Brooks, Corporate Vice President for Windows Consumer Product Marketing, the effort stems largely from the fact that Microsoft’s brand and products, and the way people use technology in general, are vastly different now than they were even a decade ago.

The Windows platform – including Windows Vista, Windows Mobile and Windows Live – were built to work together to connect the Windows experience beyond the PC to the phone and on the Web.

“When you think of more than a billion people using Windows across the globe, each person with a unique set of circumstances, and then factor in three Windows platforms and what they can do, it’s hard to even comprehend the number of unique scenarios Windows can potentially address,” says Brooks. “So how can Microsoft support this ecosystem? How can we help people understand the potential they have to be creative and productive with the platform?”

According to Brooks, Microsoft’s historic relationship with consumers has become insufficient in this new world, a situation that has led the company to fundamentally rebuild the customer experience.

“Today customers see inconsistent buying scenarios, and often end up with PCs or devices that aren’t ideally suited to what they want from Windows,” he says. “And the company hasn’t always provided enough information for people to understand the functionality they need, and how to get there. We need to help our customers keep pace.”

Responding to this need, over the past year the company has undergone extensive efforts to understand consumer behavior and thinking around PCs and Windows.

“We wanted to know how customers experience not only the products, but the company itself,” Brooks says. “We did our own studies, engaged with leading research firms and really evaluated not only how our products work for the average person, but how our business works for them.”

The research has spanned everything from day-to-day use of the product and how the company supports customers over the Web and telephone, to the real-world experience of buying PCs, software and devices – where much of consumers’ initial learning occurs.

“Customers have told us they want Microsoft to play a more active role in their technology experiences, by helping direct them to the specific products, services and technologies that will most benefit their unique needs,” he says.

Beyond the Campaign – Making PCs Better

This past July, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer hinted that changes were in the wind, saying the company would launch a series of initiatives to make Windows more meaningful and relevant. Now Ballmer is looking to Microsoft veteran Veghte and his team to lead the Windows business through the transformation.

A primary focus of the initiatives is to work with PC and device manufacturers to create hardware better-suited to deliver the kinds of experiences with Windows that customers want. To that end, Veghte and the team are driving changes in the engineering behind Windows PCs, and working closely with manufacturers to improve and enhance hardware performance in key areas that customers care about, such as computer start-up and shut-down speed, and overall security and reliability.

 The new Retail Experience Center on the Microsoft Campus in Redmond, Wash. is designed to learn about and improve the experience consumers have selecting and purchasing Windows PCs in retail stores. High-res image.The Windows team is putting in place an objective set of quality tests for PCs that span performance, reliability and security, working with manufacturers such as Acer, Asus, Dell, Founder, Fujitsu, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba, Wortmann and Packard Bell.

According to Veghte, in the coming weeks and months, consumers will begin to see a wave of PCs that benefit from these changes, with many becoming available later this fall.

“The new PCs we’re working on will be faster in the areas our customers say are very important for them,” Veghte says. “For instance, laptop users come and go multiple times a day – they’re always putting their PC to sleep and resuming, or perhaps shutting down and booting up. Other users maybe be constantly launching Web browsers and surfing the Internet. These are the things that largely shape people’s Windows experience, and so these are some of the areas we’re measuring and working with our OEM partners to optimize. Ultimately we want to give that time back to our customers.”

Microsoft will feature these PCs at its Windows.com Web site, which is also undergoing a thorough transformation of its own. In addition to pointing consumers to specific PCs and driving them toward the right hardware for their unique needs, the new Web site will feature more consumer-oriented help and how-to videos designed to help build affinity for Windows and awareness of underutilized features and capabilities.

The Brick and Mortar Experience

One of the best things about PCs, Veghte says, is the sense of excitement and discovery that customers feel when purchasing a new computer. To build on this and help keep that enthusiasm going over time, the company has found myriad ways to improve both the buying experience as well as customers’ understanding of what’s possible with the system and how to operate it from the get go.

“We must deliver a world-class shopping experience that aligns with the brand promise and our online presence,” he says. “That is why we are working with our key retail partners to make the process of evaluating, selecting and purchasing PCs with Windows as simple and informative as possible.”

According to Veghte, the effort is a long-term one built around making the process clear, simple and easy. Early pilots with retailers have included branded “store-within-a-store” displays, with some featuring trained Microsoft “Gurus” to assist PC buyers, similar to the Nordstrom model of “personal shoppers,” where the focus is more on informing and supporting the customer than on the actual sale.

Microsoft has also setup on its Redmond campus, the Retail Experience Center, which is part of a larger effort to establish a research facility to better understand and address how consumers are experiencing the Windows brand at retail as they select and purchase PCs.

In the end, says Veghte, the ideal would be to maintain that level of excitement that users experience when they first purchase a PC, and ensure that it continues through years of use, by helping them find new ways to be creative and productive.

“Windows has always been about putting the power of computing in the hands of people. All of these efforts are designed to reconnect and re-ignite our customers’ imaginations around the value of Windows in their lives today, and the promise of Windows in their lives tomorrow.”