Building Windows, not walls

I don't care who Microsoft ad agency Crispin Porter puts in the starring role along with Chairman Bill Gates in its $300+ million campaign. But I am intrigued about what kind of messaging Crispin and Microsoft think will reinvigorate Vista's image and make Microsoft less of an Apple chump.

The Wall Street Journal is the second publication to report that Microsoft's soon-to-be-launched coolness campaign will use the slogan "Windows Not Walls" as its rallying cry. (Here's the first report in AdWeek citing that same slogan.)

I don't care who ad agency Crispin Porter puts in the starring role along with Chairman Bill Gates in its $300+ million campaign. Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Hillary, Michael Phelps. But I am intrigued about what kind of messaging Crispin and Microsoft think will reinvigorate Vista's Windows' image and make Microsoft less of an Apple chump.

Here are some of the themes I'm betting we'll see in whatever kind of campaign goes live on September 4:

  • Windows is everywhere. It's on your PC, your mobile device and in the cloud. (It's not really on your Xbox or your Zune, but that probably won't stop the ad folks from designing these into the picture, as well. Update: Technically, you can make the case that Windows is inside the Xbox, as Windows-Now.com's Robert McLaws reminded me.)
  • Because Windows is everywhere, you don't need to be tethered to your desk. You can do Windows computing at the beach, on a boat, in the tub or on a moat. (Cue, Dr. Seuss.)
  • Windows is not a closed ecosystem. There are hundreds of PC and phone makers who build Windows-centric devices. There are developers embedding Windows Live programming interfaces into their programs and services. (Don't expect any terms as uncool as "API" or "ecosystem" to rear their heads in this ad campaign, though. I'm doubtful we'll see any direct mentions of Apple, either. That's just not the Microsoft way.)

Just for fun, I googled "Windows, Not Walls" to see what came up. Reference No. 1 was an abstract of an educational paper entitled, "Writing Assignments as Windows, Not Walls: Enlivening Unboundedness through Boundaries." There were a few refernces to Dan Fogelberg's eighth album, "Windows and Walls." And there were lots of ads for home construction companies that do windows but not walls (or both windows and walls). Hmm. Not a lot of inspiration there....

I wonder whether the the Empire will strike back? Will Microsoft take the high but boring road and simply produce another Bill-Gates-centric spoof video? Will there be a theme song? An action figure? Free coupons for Live Search Cashback bucks? A chance to guest blog on "Engineering Windows 7"?

What are you expecting Microsoft to as part of its upcoming "Windows, Not Walls"campaign?

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