Meet the men behind Microsoft's ad revival

We don’t tend to talk about advertising here unless it’s kind of funny or relentlessly horrible. One thing that we’ve consistently talke about, however, are Apple ads. They’re short, funny, and to-the-point and they ensure that you know there’s a war on and Apple is winning it. They have changed Microsoft from “a company that makes computer software” into “a company for out-of-touch dorks.”

Consider Microsoft’s advertising, if you can think of any. Zune is all over the map. XBox 360 advertising is focused on games, not the console, and Vista’s “Wow” campaign turned into a “Wow, I want XP back.” They’re getting pummeled. So Microsoft just hired Alex Bogusky of Crispin Porter + Bogusky to put them back on track.

Some of the brands he’s resuscitated include Burger King and Mini Cooper and his quirky, memorable spots have a certain anarchic quality to them that the kids just seem to love. The real question, however, is can they turn PC from a nebbish guy in a suit (no offense, John Hodgman) to the computing powerhouse it wants to be.

The two understand just how delicate the Microsoft project will be. “To try to be cool is to not be cool,” Keller pronounces. “To chase cool, you’re chasing something that already exists, which means you’re always going to be on the wrong side of it, you’ll always be following.”

I’ll say! Sadly, I think Microsoft has a hard road ahead of it. Apple created something ubiquitous, the iPod, and then carefully and stealthily snuck in the rest of its wares under the radar, sending out false intelligence in the form of the Hodgman videos and creating a cult not of personality but of product — name one Microsoft product that gets as much attention as the iPhone in terms of modern mindshare and I’ll give you a twenty dollar bill.

Apple is a big company. Don’t be fooled. They’re not Sally’s Sweet Scent-o-rium and Boutique on Main Street that has become popular by word of mouth. They had a plan, they stuck to it, and now they’re taking down Microsoft from the bottom. My only hope, as a user of both platforms and a former Microsoft fan, is that Bogusky turns around the perception of Bill’s baby pretty damn quickly.