Microsoft not participating in Superbowl advertising


“The last thing a marketer should do is assume that they need to be on the Super Bowl.”


I could not agree more. I certainly wouldn’t be thinking about upgrading my software while stuffing Doritos into my face (and yes, I’ll probably be doing that, just like a large portion of the rest of the American population). Burger King not advertising is a bit of a mystery. Maybe that creepy King had a prior engagement.


Shall we do a little review of the ads after the game? Is there a way to make it fun?

Comments (12)

  1. KW says:

    I think that is the right thing to do for MS. I’m not sure the real material returns on these kind of ads, esp what has MS to do with football?

    The company that I work for spends hundreds of millions of dollars putting a sticker on a car that has an average speed of >200mph. You guessed right….it’s the F1. Do you think viewers/spectators will pay attention to those stickers?? Can they see those stickers at the speed of >200mph? I’d look at the color and say "oh….that is Ferrari, or that is BMW, or Mercedes". Lets talk abt marketing 101….or in this case, could be 102. There is a specific market that you’re trying to capture by advertising in F1. You want to tell the consumers that your technology is superior (provided if the car that has your stickers wins or at least infront of the car that has your competitor’s stickers). But if consumers do not care abt the IT technology behind the car, would that mean your message falls on deaf ears? This hundreds of millions of advertising dollars can easily hire say….2,000 sales and marketing employees for a year or approximately 667 employees for 3 years. And use these few hundreds or thousands folks to sell into those targetted accounts/markets. Do you think this will be much more effective?

    Back to Superbowl, I think reviewing the ads after the game is fun. Lets see which are good and which are not.

  2. Wine-Oh says:

    Here’s where your site can become very interactive heather.

    2 suggestions:

    1) Have a different person write a review of each of the commercials.

    2) Put up a poll asking readers to vote on the best commercial.

    Me, I am looking forward to the one run by the NFL asking for viewers to send in their ideas for a commmercial. I know the guy who won and am looking forward to seeing it air.

  3. HeatherLeigh says:

    KW – good points. I think that sponsorship advertising is more about building brand recognition (which includes getting your company’s name in front of customer eyeballs, repetitively). I think that the Superbowl has a lot of potential for effective brand advertising but often people pay more attention to the ad than what company it’s for. Plus, at that price (where you are defnitely paying for the eyeballs of people that may not be your customers), it’s probably not worth it. Right now, I see us really focusing Vista marketing dollars on product advertising, not brand advertising. I think the superbowl viewing market is the wrong one to explain the value proposition of Vista; especially considering that superbowl viewing is social and often involves many distractions. Now those 200 MPH billboards…I’m not sure what kind of eyeballs they get. maybe people look at the cars when they aren’t moving? Can you tell I am not the target market?!

    Wine-Oh – I like the poll idea…hmm, I wonder how I could do that…(I say as I wait for someone wth stronger technical skills than mine to make a recommendation)…

  4. eR0CK says:

    I think Microsoft hasn’t done enough advertising.  I’ve ran into quite a few people that:

    a.)  Don’t know what Vista is

    b.)  Are not aware Microsoft has produced a new OS

    On the other hand, I agree with everyone here.  The Super Bowl is not a place for MS to advertise.

  5. Avid_Supporter says:

    Given the timing, wouldn’t a Vista ad have been worth it?   How many times will I have to sit through that stupid Mac/PC ad where the PC guy is going in for his Vista upgrade?

  6. HeatherLeigh says:

    eRock – my question then would be whether or not they are in the market for a new OS. I may agree that we need to do more advertising but I think selecting the place where "buyers" could reside might be the ticket. Speaking of which, I see a lot of airport advertising. That makes sense to me. TV ads, not so much. How could they be any more effective than BillG being on the Daily Show?

    Avid_Supporter – I think the cost benefit equation would be a bit lop sided. I’m sick of this mac ads too but I just fast forward through them. I think the superbowl isn’t enough of a defined OS buying market to justify the expense.  

    So let me ask this…keeping in mind that all eyeballs are not created equal (you want to attract your target market), where would you "advertise" for Vista? Is there someplace that hasn’t been tapped into yet? Think about things like advertising on buses that have wifi. What else?

  7. KW says:

    Agree with Heather. "You want to attract your target market". Remember, every human has selective vision and hearing. You only see what you want to see or hear what you want to hear. Marketing is abt finding out who those folks are and deliver them the right message at the right time.

    Not too sure if any of you been to Costco, Bestbuy or Circuitcity lately….or visited their websites or checkout their ads in newspapers. Well, if you have…..then you will noticed Vista is everywhere.

    Another few good places to advertise Vista is 1) the LCD panels in the elevators 2) LCD billboards on streets/roads that have high and slow traffic..e.g. I5 leading into Seattle at Peak Hours. 🙂 MS should also setup tents in crowded cities to showcase Vista Media Center….broadcasting Live PGA games, while serving snacks and drinks. 🙂 MS could also sell a Vista bundled with FREE subscription of LIVE Sport Events that broadcast over the internet (limit it to only work in Vista & WMP)…..give it free to consumers, but make money from ads that display along side with the game.

  8. eR0CK says:

    Good question!

    First, I’d like to address your first question regarding "whether or not they are in the market for a new OS".  I don’t mean to be negative, but I don’t think Vista has introduced enough new features to warrant an upgrade.  Of course I base this purely on my own opinion and nothing else.

    I think airport advertising is great.  You get to reach all types of people in an airport.  The most frequent travelers are sales representatives, consultants, etc. people that I personally think enjoy being on the cutting-edge of technology.

    Advertising on buses that have wifi is great too, but I think that ad is more or less targeting the "geek" audience.  I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, you have to gear advertising to the various buyers in what you view as your market.

    Personally, I don’t think a TV ad or two would hurt (albeit, not during the Superbowl).  If I had to choose where I’d place the ad, I’d probably place it on the various news networks like FOX, CNN, MSNBC, etc. and the commercial would show the great advantages to upgrading from XP to Vista.

    I think the real challenge is getting those that are sitting on Windows 98 or Windows 2000 to upgrade to Vista.  Then again, perhaps this isn’t who MS’s intended buyers are.

    Perhaps placing some level of advertisements in subways in major cities.  Most subway cars have advertisement space … depending on the wording, it could be effective.

    Daily show was definitely a big plus, but I think BillG on Oprah would also attract a different type of buyer … imagine if Oprah gave out free laptops with Vista on them … how many potential buyers would you reach?  They’d at least be intrigued, if not willing to buy Vista simply because Oprah likes it or puts it on here list (I think it’s called Oprah’s favorites).  I feel it would reach an audience that may not watch The Daily Show.

    That’s what I can come up with thus far.

    You know, I just thought.  Putting Vista in the Superbowl could work, but not as a commercial.  I think it would be a great advertisement to have someone like John Madden showing off the new Vista OS on a laptop during a timeout or some other pause during the game.  

    I think with an OS, it’s more effective to show people what they get and to show it working and how it might make their lives easier.

    -Erich

  9. HeatherLeigh says:

    KW – OK, you are a marketer, aren’t you? I might not be one, but I know one when I see one. Love your ideas. I havne’t seen Costco since Vista officially launched but now I want to check it out.

    Erich – some great ideas. I was going to say that we could sponsor the instant replay (and have it show in a Vista screen) but I know how some people feel about instant replay.

    You make an interesting point when you bring up the "upgrade" thing. I don’t think our message has been an upgrade message (see what KW said about the right message). I think that what we are trying to do is to get people to buy a whole new experience. So what you said about showing them features is key.

    The other thing that I guess that we should consider, is that a lot of marketing is done in phases. Perhaps right now is just about the awreness phase (MS has launched Vista) and the next phase is about educating the consumer on what it is/does. I would also imagine (and again, i feel compelled to let you all know that i took one marketing class in college…I’m not an expert) that any product advertisign that got down to the feature level would differ by audience segment. For example, I would probably really respond to any marketing done to a knowledge worker audience. An at home computer enthusiast would probably get more excited about some of the media stuff you can do.

  10. The ads have progressively gotten worse the past five years.  Only the Career Builder monkey commericials are worth watching.

  11. HeatherLeigh says:

    I think the career builder ones are used up.

  12. Jim S says:

    I don’t think Microsoft is built for the hot buzz that most of the bowl advertisers are aiming for. They’re also probably taking the "if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it" approach to advertising.  Personally I think they’re making a medium-sized mistake by not taking the opportunity to introduce Vista.