Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Microsoft Starts TV Advertising Countdown to Windows 8 Launch

Microsoft has turned up the volume on the marketing and advertising campaign leading up to the launch of Windows 8 later this month, with a barrage of ads that ran during NFL games today.

The spot shows PCs and tablets from the likes of Acer, Lenovo and Sony, including touchscreens which are, in part, intended to make the Windows ecosystem more competitive with devices like Apple’s iPad. The ads (see the video embedded below) starts with a countdown, as if for a rocket launch, but gets stuck on the number 8. It ends by showing a young girl “painting a picture” on a PC screen, and then showing the printed result to an adult, with the tagline “Windows Reimagined.”

The ads come 11 days before Microsoft is expected to officially debut Windows 8 at an event in New York, along with its Surface tablet device — which, oddly enough, is not shown in the ad.

It’s going to take the full buzz-generating capabilities of Microsoft and its partners to reverse the slide in the sales of PCs. Just last week, the market research firms Gartner and IDC reported that PC sales that declined by more than 8 percent from the same period a year ago. The slide in sales has been blamed in part on consumers who have held back on making PC purchases, knowing that a new version of Windows has been in the offing. But rarely in the past has a iteration of Windows significantly reignited PC sales by itself.

Corporations, meanwhile, are more conservative, and tend not to buy machines with the latest version of Windows until it has been upgraded once or twice by Microsoft with a service pack or two.

On top of all that, there has been the ongoing challenge of tablets like the iPad, and others running Google’s Android operating system, that have eaten into sales of PCs, particularly notebooks. Ads for those devices were also in heavy rotation during Sunday’s football games.

Here’s the ad:

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus