There’s been a lot of discussion about the new Microsoft campaign from Crispin Porter + Bogusky. Grant McCracken and his readers had a pretty robust discussion on the topic and I weighed in agreeing with Grant, feeling the campaign worked to accomplish some of the vital work Microsoft needs to be done.
The mere fact that the campaign is generating discussion and that people are taking sides suggests the campaign is already succeeding. People are now talking about Microsoft’s ads – can you remember the previous campaign?
What I find most interesting and what I appreciate the most is the jujitsu-style approach Crispin Porter has taken. Check this out:
Apple has worked so hard to paint the “PC” it would have been natural for Crispin to say, “We have to get far, far away from that whole ‘I’m a Mac, I’m a PC’ conversation.” But they used the power of that ad against itself, just like a Jujitsu master uses the power of his opponent rather than trying to fight against it. This is so clever. Had they tried to change the conversation they would have failed. People would have remembered the Apple ads and the conversation wouldn’t have changed. By embracing the conversation, even poking fun at it, Microsoft (via CPB) acknowledges the reality and perception that they are stuffy, unimaginative and a bit nerdy.
But then they trot out all these interesting and cool people and you have to not only re-evaluate your feelings about these people, but also about Microsoft. Either Eva Longoria, Vera Wang and Pharell Williams are uncool or you have to rethink this whole Mac v. PC thing.
The lesson here is, sometimes your brand can’t change the discussion. Sometimes a competitor, or consumers, have created a powerful story that can’t be easily changed, pushed away or dismissed. When that happens you the principles of Jujitsu and use the power of the negative perception to undermine the very stereotype you’re looking to change.