By now you've probably watched the Bill Gates / Jerry Seinfeld Microsoft ad a dozen or so times (if not, get to it). If you're like us, you've got a healthy conversation happening about what the new campaign means, and whether or not you actually like the thing. According to a leaked internal email from Redmond's senior vice president Bill Veghte, this first installment in what will be a series of commercials is meant to function as an "Icebreaker to reintroduce Microsoft to viewers in a consumer context." It seems that the company is following the path they've stamped out with their previous media burst, the Mojave Experiment, which appears to be less concerned with changing the product (Windows), and more concerned with changing consumers' perception of the product. In Veghte's words, "Telling our story means making significant investments to improve the way consumers experience Windows." So here's our question to you: is Microsoft on the right track here? Let us know in the poll below! (You can also read the full text of the email after the break)

Is Microsoft's new ad working?
Yes. This makes the idea of Windows a lot more palatable and interesting.5830 (13.1%)
No. The ads don't help Vista's case.8566 (19.3%)
I don't even know what this ad is about.20527 (46.2%)
I want that cake computer.9519 (21.4%)


From: Bill Veghte
Sent: Thursday, September 04, 2008 5:37 PM
To: Microsoft - All Employees (QBDG)
Subject: Telling the story of Windows

Since it first launched nearly 25 years ago, Windows has been one of the most successful products in the history of the high tech industry. As we set our sights on the next 25 years, it is essential that we deliver incredible offerings on a great platform. We must also tell the story of how Windows enables a billion people around the globe to do more with their lives today. We must inspire consumers with the promise of what Windows uniquely makes possible across the PC, phone and web.

Telling our story means making significant investments to improve the way consumers experience Windows. To that end, we are focused on making improvements at practically every consumer touch point, from the moment they hear about the Windows brand in our advertising to how they learn more about Windows products online; from how they view Windows and try it at retail to how they use the entire range of Windows offerings – Windows Vista, Windows Mobile and Windows Live – across their whole life.

Today, we are kicking off a highly visible advertising campaign. The first phase of this campaign is designed to engage consumers and spark a new conversation about Windows – a conversation that will evolve as the campaign progresses, but will always be marked by humor and humanity. The first in this series of television ads airs initially in the U.S., and it aims to re-ignite consumer excitement about the broader value of Windows. The first television spot aired on NBC during the opening game of the NFL season and will be seen throughout the evening on various primetime programs. Worldwide, you can view this first TV spot at http://msw.

This first set of ads features Bill Gates and comedian Jerry Seinfeld. Think of these ads as an icebreaker to reintroduce Microsoft to viewers in a consumer context. Later this month, as the campaign moves into its next phase, we'll go much deeper in telling the Windows story and celebrating what it can do for consumers at work, at play and on-the-go. At that time, I'll be back to share more information about our plans to further strengthen the bond between consumers and Windows – one of the most amazing products, businesses and brands of all time, and, with the right tenacity, passion and agility from all of us, a story that has many great chapters to come.

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Poll: Is Microsoft's new ad working?