How stupid can one committee be? Last night, seeing ads from both Apple and Microsoft, I suddenly realized... there are NO limits! Consider the OS war between Apple and Microsoft. Apple has about 6.5% of the market and Microsoft around 89%. In the “dominance category” we have a clear winner. We know that most people use Microsoft’s Windows yet Microsoft can’t make an ad worth watching. Why? I believe the reason is... committees.
Apple’s recent ad, if you haven’t seen it, shows “PC”, a man dressed in a polyester suit, making the claim that Windows 7 fixes all the problems of the past. Then it shows “PC” in the garb of decades past, making the same claim for each previous version of Windows. Very effective at casting Microsoft as a group of vapid boneheads.
Microsoft’s answer? A series of ads showing “regular people” telling us “Windows 7 was [their] idea”. How stupid is that? Do you really want Uncle Morty designing your OS? Stupid! But this is the type of work-product that a committee thinks is brilliant.
Definition wise, a committee is a group of people assigned to a specific function. But in reality it is a group of people afraid to look silly to other committee members. So they champion the popular idea working feverishly NOT to venture too far away or take a stand that might seem risky. They stick together like frightened tourists, lost in the jungle, hoping to find their guide before they miss the buffet.
I can see the ad execs sitting around a table and saying, “what if we appeal to common people by pretending THEY made the OS. They can’t hate what they’ve made, right?” And the entire committee nods in unison like a bunch of cheap bobble-heads. Bingo, Windows 7 stupid ad is born.
You need vision to make a great ad or invent or solve a vexing problem. Committees don’t have vision. Each person’s fear tempers the idea until it is a wisp of what it could have been. Microsoft you should know that by now. You were once a startup who took chances and lived on the edge.
Microsoft needs a bold move to bring their product out of Apple’s toilet. Don’t get me wrong, I love Apple and I respect Microsoft. True, I switched to Mac several years ago but I run XP via Parallels on my Mac all the time. I need both companies to do what I do. But what gets me mad is how bad the new Microsoft ads are. Comparing Apple and Microsoft ads is like watching someone punch Grandma. No matter how much she deserves it, you still feel bad for Grandma.
The day of the committee should be over. But frightened Pseudo-Executives use them to cover their backsides if something goes wrong. I hate committees. I believe they cause most of the problems in this World. Committees are designed to temper ideas and give them a multidimensional perspective. A good intention but committees are composed of humans who let fear drive them. Fear kills great ideas.
The smarter amongst us need to shun committee-think and move this country ahead. Executives need to understand that now is the time of the individual. Give those of us with good ideas the ability to bring our ideas out! Stop plucking them apart in fear driven committees.
HEY MICROSOFT, yeah, I’m taking to you. You want a good ad campaign? Stop using committees. Here, I’ll design your ad campaign right now.
Picture this, I’m at my desk, no committee in site. Just a pencil and paper and I begin thinking. Hmm, I need a good slogan and a catchy offer. Thirty minutes later… bang.
Microsoft, here is your new ad campaign.
“Better than a Mac or your money back!”
Catchy, simple and tells the whole story. An entire series of useful and smart ads can be made that highlight how Microsoft uses cheaper hardware, has more software and runs well enough to be used by 89% of the market.
Then show why my Mac can’t connect to all the products that don’t have Mac drivers. And show people like me who can’t run software they desperately need on OSX so we use Bootcamp, Parallels or VMware. If Windows 7 works you’ll no longer need to eat crow in every Apple ad. In fact you’ll probably end up selling millions of licenses to Apple users who will install it on their Macs.
I’d respect this ad campaign and its brazen offer... “Better than a Mac or your money back!” tells us you know you have a great product this time.
And Microsoft, this is worth a fortune to you. How much did you pay Crispin Porter & Bogusky for the dumb “everyone else made Windows 7 so we don’t have to take the blame for it” ads? A big fortune right? Use my ad, I just want a small fortune.
This is an actual contract. Microsoft executes, you can print it out, execute it and send it back to me with a check and you’ve got your new ad campaign and spokesperson. Don’t worry, I’m really good. I sell my own products on live TV (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zbkm8BlcPQk). If I can sell products I make I can certainly sell W7. And I can definitely present your products better than paid actors saying stupid things like “1 Billion = 7”.
Even better, the story will be on every media outlet in a few days. Can’t you see it? “Microsoft signs deal with an Advertising Nobody to get their first great ads in decades.” You’ll be edgy again. For you, Microsoft, this offer is worth considering.
Perry Kaye (PERRY) agrees to license to Microsoft his copyrights in work titled “Better than a Mac or your money back!” including ads and slogans. For one year (TERM) from the date of the execution of this contract, Perry further agrees to give up his Mac and run his entire work and lifestyle computing needs on Windows 7 (W7). Perry further agrees to promote Windows 7 for the TERM and also to show why W7 is better than a Mac in a weekly webcast and at Microsoft events.
Microsoft agrees to pay to Perry a total sum of $10 Million US dollars for the above mentioned rights and services.
____________________________________ Date ______/______/________
Microsoft, General Manager for Brand and Marketing Strategy
Note: David may need a committee to review this contract. He would be considered a genius if he signed it and cut a deal with me. The press would be phenomenal. But if he uses a committee the fear will kill the idea and he’ll seek refuge in the arms of a committee and the CYA it offers.
The committee will kill it because it looks too risky. In actuality it’s not risky at all. The new “Better than a Mac” ads would tell people what 89% of the world already knows. Committees are too dumb to accurately asses risk. Proof? They’ll kill the “Better than a Mac” ads but release Vista with bugs. Any questions?
David may not be able to break away and sign this agreement. If that is the case then we need a bold Microsoft leaded to stand up and take the chance. Enter Steve Ballmer? If he has the balls to hire me he would look like a genius. (Please, someone get this article and offer to Steve Balmer before it is too late! My kids college tuition depends on it. And, I really can’t stand to see another muttonheaded Windows 7 ad.) So Steve, put your name on the line and get me a check and we’re in business!
____________________________________ Date ______/______/________
Chief Executive Officer
It’s time. Microsoft, what’s your answer? Are you going to be the edgy smart company that Bill Gates and team built or are you going to keep licking Steve Jobs’ boots?
The choice is yours. Just stop offending and boring us with your stupid ads. We all know Aunt Mathilda and Uncle Morty did NOT make Windows 7. You did, so stand behind W7, make it work properly and make some decent ads about it. We’re better than your dumb ads make us look.