If you think the Jerry Seinfeld-Bill Gates spots were Microsoft's biggest ad blooper, you might have forgotten about the $500 million "People-Ready" campaign the company launched in 2006.
On January 12, Microsoft launched a new phase of that People-Ready print/TV/online campaign, with the slogan: "It's Everybody's Business."
People-Ready is Microsoft's pitch aimed business users -- not the consumers who are the focus of its "I'm a PC" ads. While Microsoft officials originally said People-Ready was aimed squarely at IBM, few customers ever made that connection. Or any connection, for that matter. People-Ready asked managers whether they were running companies that were "people-ready" -- which seems to have meant ready to install Vista, Office 2007 and other new Microsoft products in the chute.
The new phase of the campaign, from a quick look at the updated People-Ready Web site, doesn't seem tied to Windows 7 and Office 14, or any other Microsoft products, for that matter. The campaign includes animated spots highlighting business customers' thoughts about how to get the most bang for the buck with technology, especially in the current turbulent economy.
From a Q&A on Microsoft's Web site:
"As for executing the campaign, we’ve taken a hard look at every advertising and marketing dollar we’re spending, and there are areas where we’re changing plans. We also think we’re getting a great deal on advertising 'real estate' right now, so we hope we can get a lot more value out of the dollars we are spending today."
The new "People-Ready" campaign was developed by ad agency JWT. According to estimates, Microsoft is expecting to spend $200 million on the updated People-Ready program.