Microsoft embraces its uncoolness on a new level


I've been seeing a new Microsoft commercial in the last few days. It's another in the line of "Pepsi Challenge"-esque, blind use ads. People like Vista when they don't know it's Vista, MS alleges. Otherwise, all they can picture is John Hodgman, and then they don't like it anymore.

These ads, titled The Mojave Experiment, are probably doing more for Microsoft's reputation than the ill-conceived Bill Gates/Jerry Seinfeld Odd Couple campaign, or even the "I'm a PC" series that has wishing he'd thought of it for a YouTube meme.

The most recent spot took me a few viewings to interpret, but I've come to the conclusion that it's the smartest MS ad yet. Not that it'll work, but it's at least smart.

Parents of teenaged kids are shown using Vista. They love it! They love how you can tell the computer to turn off when the kids need to get outside or to bed. They love how you can control your kids even when you're not around. The kids, understandably, hate it. They're aghast.

And that's the genius. Who, other than the TV, is the entity/entities most likely to complain to parents about how uncool Windows is, and how cool Mac products are? The damn kids and their damn iPods. Windows is trying to empower those parents, telling them that Microsoft is just the next thing in the line of broccoli, vaccinations, and curfews: stuff that your kids hate on principle.

Of course, it's still not going to save Vista. But it's smart.