Q&A: Microsoft's Windows marketing chief says Apple's 'scared'

Says brand is 'coming alive' with Windows 7, new 'laptop hunter' ads

Do you love Microsoft Corp.'s recent TV ads? (See them all on YouTube here.) Hate its "Apple Tax" marketing campaign? Then meet Brad Brooks. As Microsoft's corporate vice president for Windows consumer product marketing, Brooks approved both campaigns as part of his goal of burnishing Windows 7's image in advance of its October launch (and tarnishing Apple's).

Brooks' moves seem to be working. Reviews of Windows 7 are much more positive than Vista's were. And according to a survey this month by Advertising Age, Microsoft is now seen as providing more value than Apple, especially among 18 to 34-year-olds.

A Windows marketer since 2002, Brooks was promoted to his current position in February 2008. Brooks talked with Computerworld late last week. An edited transcript of the interview follows.

The Seinfeld-Gates commercials last fall got a lot of people talking, but not necessarily in a good way. Your newer "Laptop hunter" ads seem to be a lot more effective. Timed with the recession, they've got a class-conscious attitude that you could almost say is Marxist in tone.

(Laughs) This was always part of the plan that we created two years ago and have been executing in the past year. Microsoft was founded on a simple principle -- to democratize technology and put the power of software in everyone's hands. That is really what we have tapped back into with "I'm a PC" and taken forward with the "Rookies" and "laptop hunters" commercials.

You also seem to be tapping into this vein of consumer resentment over how Apple tries to dictate one aesthetic, one vision of cool.

You're hitting the nail on the head. That's what we mean by customer choice. About a year ago, I got on stage at a Microsoft conference and made the controversial statement that we're no longer going to be defined by somebody else's snarky attitude, that we're going to be defined by who we are and what we stand for. That represents the billion people who use our products every day.

What do you think of Apple's response, the most recent "Get a Mac" ads?

I think [the way] they're responding to our advertising is a reflection of what's happening out in the market (both IDC and the NPD Group show Mac sales dropping in the U.S. in recent months).

They're scared. The Ad Age survey shows how our brand is coming alive through three things: the ads, hitting our commitment to build a fantastic product with Windows 7, and around delivering the truth about the "Apple tax" and the value you get when you go with Windows.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftAppleWindowsWindows 7apple adsmicrosoft ad

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Eric Lai

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?