Top 10 celebrities for Microsoft’s Windows Vista campaign

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Opinion – Microsoft has a tough time these days. First we complain that they don’t react to Apple’s mean and insulting Mac vs. Vista commercials and then nobody appears to like Microsoft’s choice for a spokesperson, Jerry Seinfeld (we do agree that this is a strange choice.) But we do not want to simply criticize Microsoft – criticism always should offer solutions and this is exactly what we wanted to do. Here are our top 10 choices for Microsoft’s anti-Apple campaign.

Before I begin, let me note that we found that any single celebrity is often tied to one or very few specific characteristic, at least as the public image is concerned. So, my thoughts, which may not be able to match the creativity of an ad agency that is paid millions of dollars, circled around the question: Which topic could be best addressed by which celebrity? Of course, the suggestions below are my opinion and I would welcome any thoughts from you.

Here we go:

10. Simplicity: That is a wide open range in Hollywood and as far as public perception is concerned, my pick would be Paris Hilton with a subtle message that if Paris Hilton can use Vista, anyone can. (But I do have to admit that Hilton’s McCain commercial was pretty smart.)      

9. Speed: Michael Phelps, hands down. Any questions?    

8. Success: Warren Buffett. Even in a time of what is generally described as a recession, everyone turns to Buffett and his ideas and portfolio, which seems to do doing pretty well. And aren’t Gates and Buffett buddies anyway?

7. Emotions: Oprah Winfrey. Oprah is a valuable asset in any campaign, just ask Barack Obama. I do not know many people who do not love Oprah and I do not know any other celebrity who can make almost anyone cry even if they are half asleep. Of course, in the case of Windows Vista, crying would not be the goal. The other way aroudn would probably be better.

6. Looks: That, of course, somewhat relates to the visual appeal of Windows Vista and I debated whether Oprah - due to her makeover experience - might be a good spokesperson for this topic as well. But I ended up favoring Heidi Klum, preferably in tandem with Christian Siriano. Can it get any more convincing and edgy than that?

5. Green: Everything needs to be green these days, whether you are green or not. In case there is no political scheduling conflict, this role needs to be filled by Al Gore. An inconvenient truth revisited: Apple is not as green as you think it is. Any doubts?

4. Versatility: Brangelina would be my choice. A notebook and operating system that can keep up with Angelina Jolie’s and Brad Pitt’s family life, extreme travel and language requirements must be very flexible.

3. Security:
I thought about Rambo. If he can free a few POWs from a spider- and snake-infested military camp in the middle of nowhere, he should be able to free Microsoft from the claws of spyware, viruses and Apple. But there is always a dramatic story behind John Rambo that just does not fit to Vista. I think the choice needs to be James Bond to represent cold, uncompromised security that always has a happy ending.   

2. Fun: Vista is fun, didn’t you know? And “funny” is represented on a very consistent basis by Jay Leno. Heck, he can call the President of this country “stupid” on public television. Can you imagine what he could call Apple?

1. Credibility: This was an easy one. Walt Mossberg is the perfect lead for Microsoft’s advertising campaign to achieve credibility. Mossberg is quoted up and down by tech companies, especially by Apple, even if there may be questions about the substance behind some of Mossberg’s reviews. But in the end it is Mossberg’s opinion that counts and that carries the kind of weight Microsoft could use right now. (And yes, I know - that won’t happen for at least as long Mossberg remains a journalist.)

What are your ideas? Let me know by writing a comment below.