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IBM Linux ads show up Microsoft's Seinfeld campaign

By   |  September 12, 2008

Last week Microsoft launched its $300 million advertising campaign featuring comedian Jerry Seinfeld. The peculiar, rambling advert had consumers scratching their heads asking “What the…?”

There was barely any mention of Vista or Windows, it had Bill Gates trawling discount shoe shops for a good bargain, it had Seinfeld talking about showering with his shoes on and then there was the “bum wiggle”. Pretty much everything you don’t expect from an advert for Microsoft.

By way of comparison, have a look at these two older ads from IBM promoting Linux. Irrespective of whether you’re a Linux and IBM fan or not, the message is clear an unambigious.

In the first one a young boy is being taught things and given information. He sits, mostly passively, as people from around the world feed him information. He absorbs the information and finally it is revealed … he is Linux. It’s a little cheesy but the message is not in doubt.


In the second one, actor Avery Brooks of Star Trek: Deep Space 9 talks about a new force in the world and about the man who created it … a man called Linus. “It’s a different kind of world. You need a different kind of software,” he concludes.


These IBM ads aren’t new. They’ve been around for a couple of years. But they are good examples of how to make something as geeky as Linux appeal to a broader audience. Perhaps Microsoft should take a closer look at these.

[Via: Bauer Power]



7 Responses to “IBM Linux ads show up Microsoft's Seinfeld campaign”

  1. Vadim P.
    September 12th, 2008 @ 7:22 pm

    This is a good one also:

    Made by Red Hat.

  2. AK
    September 12th, 2008 @ 7:52 pm

    You know I actually love the new MS ads. They are playful, showing a lighter side of MS. They bring the human side of MS to the fore front. MS has always been about providing what the people want (Asbestos Pants on). And then the final dialog is about MS being innovative with Bill confirming that MS is looking to think outside the conventions for the future.

  3. Frank Earl
    September 12th, 2008 @ 9:22 pm

    Heh… You missed a whole bunch of gems, including the FIRST IBM Linux ad: “The Heist”, where a manager swears they stole all the machines, but instead they combined all the stuff into one Linux based mainframe that would save them loads of money.

    Microsoft could learn QUITE a bit from IBM’s ads and their marketing company- but let ’em keep flailing around, it’s fun to watch.

  4. Mark Smith
    September 12th, 2008 @ 9:50 pm

    The Microsoft ads are meant to go against the Apple ads, not old IBM ads. If you’re going to show IBM ads for Linux, you should have shown this one:

    It’s the best of the lot. Either way, the IBM ads and the Apple ads all – every one of them – kicks the snot out of this new, nonsensical garbage from Microsoft.

  5. Boycott Novell
    September 12th, 2008 @ 11:07 pm

    […] Vista advertisements are still being discussed, or at least being compared to much superior GNU/Linux advertisements. By way of comparison, have […]

  6. dbmuse
    September 13th, 2008 @ 6:44 am

    Microsoft had one chance to change for the good. It should of split into separate companies when it was convicted of being a monopoly. It didn’t. Wasn’t forced too. Sorry no ad will make me blind to how they really are. Instead of rebranding MS as good, its rebranding Jerry as ‘buyable for any cause’. boo.

  7. John Platt
    September 13th, 2008 @ 11:11 am

    I think you missed something about that first Linux commercial. Among the people I identified were Muhammed Ali (“Speak your mind. Don’t back down”) and Comedien Penny Marshall (“It’s all about the timing”). Every one of these people is supposed to be an expert in their field, and if not everyone in the target audience will recognize everyone, it seems that they should recognize enough of them so they understand that. This fact is probably more important than that the group is multiracial, though that they would choose a multiracial set of experts does seem like a good thing.

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