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Copycat Microsoft mimics 'I'm a Mac'

Say what you like about the Microsoft advertising campaign in the US featuring comedian Jerry Seinfeld, but at least it got people talking.

The ad, which premiered in the US earlier this month (see the YouTube clip here), puzzled tech analysts by neglecting to mention any Microsoft product, apart from one (probably) tongue-in-cheek future venture - see Baffling Microsoft advert promises edible PCs.

But after much hype surrounding the recruitment of Seinfeld as the face of the Microsoft campaign, news arrives today that he's been dropped. Fair enough, you might think, but I found the campaign's effort to portray Bill Gates, who remains the face of Microsoft to most people despite stepping down from his full-time position earlier this year, as a quirky but lovable character a sensible move given that Microsoft usually plays the role of the evil monopolist.

But what's most strange about the decision to drop Seinfeld is the campaign that's been chosen to replace it. Apparently, one of the new adverts will feature someone who looks like the 'PC' character in the US version of Apple's 'Get A Mac' ads. It'll start with the character saying "Hello, I'm a PC and I've been made into a stereotype".

So, just when we've finally seen the back of those Apple ads, Microsoft hits back with a 'me too' advert that mimics the campaign run by its much smaller rival. Can it really be that Microsoft gave millions of dollars to an advertising agency to develop a clever campaign, and all they could come up with something that copied the ad that did all the damage in the first place?

The counterattack strategy is said to be typical for the ad agency, Crispin Porter & Bogusky, behind the campaign. And who knows, perhaps it will do the trick.

But I have to admit, I was keen to see the next instalment (or instalments) of the Seinfeld ad, just to see where it was going - there must have been some grand plan behind the first, baffling instalment. Am I alone?

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