Microsoft goes FaceTime-like for its latest “family” TV commercial

By Tom Warren, on 9th Nov 11 6:30 pm with 64 Comments

Microsoft revealed its latest “it’s a great time to be a family” commercial on Tuesday.

The latest advert features family members meeting a baby for the first time. A relative passes around a Windows 7 laptop to each family member so they can “meet” the baby. The commercial demonstrates Microsoft’s Windows Live video chat, part of a software package available for Windows 7. The advert feels similar to Apple’s “Meet her” FaceTime commercial, which aired last year on TV. Microsoft’s take on the video introduction of a new baby is a more comic family feel. The baby in Microsoft’s advert ends up in grandpa’s hands and begins to scream at the end of the commercial.

Microsoft’s “baby” TV commercial is the latest in a new ad campaign that aims to demonstrate Microsoft’s broad product portfolio and the integration across Windows, Windows Phone and Office. The first 30 second spots aired last month across the world. The concept has been put together by Crispin Porter & Bogusky, the agency responsible for launching Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system. Microsoft aired three similar spots in October and two more earlier this month. The first two failed to impress the majority of WinRumors readers, however the third and fourth faired better in our comments section.

Microsoft isn’t declaring how much it’s spending on the new campaign but the company spent $926.3 million in 2010 on advertising. $400 million of that was spent on Microsoft’s brand, more than $100 million behind Bing and nearly $60 million for Xbox. Microsoft has executed a number of advertising campaigns over the years. Most recently, the company has been building Windows PC stores in consumers houses to highlight a “collection” of new Windows-powered devices. The commercials will run in 35 countries worldwide to focus on Microsoft’s consumer products.

Thanks to WinRumors reader Stephen Floyd for the news tip

  • Seth_p

    They should of showed WP7 Tango app and maybe the PC on the baby end… but I guess we can’t do that, yet. It just looked /too/ awkward passing a laptop around.

    • Anonymous

      Why?  This isn’t a WP7 ad, and further, why should Microsoft give any shine to the Tango app, especially when Skype (their own product) is right around the corner.

      This is a Windows 7 ad.  That is all! 

    • http://twitter.com/nikoglo Nikolás Glogowski

      Actually, I think IT IS a Windows Live Messenger ad. Did you notice the music? It’s just like the sound you hear when you get a new message!

    • http://www.twitter.com/wixostrix WixosTrix

      I think it’s just a Microsoft ad.  They highlighting their products but ultimately they are just trying to gain perception as a premium brand.  No matter what it is, as long as it’s by Microsoft it’s gonna be good and work well with all your other Microsoft products.

    • Anonymous

      exactly, This is only showing Windows Messenger in fullscreen mode, but as it has been announce WP7 will be able communicate with other phones.

    • Seth_p

      If that’s the case, why is a WP7 shown in the other family video? You’re not being consistent with your argument. It should show the ecosystem, that’s the shine. If you don’t like Tango, okay but why did Microsoft make such huge promotions around Spotify in NYC, not their own product Zune.

      I’m just saying it’s awkward passing a notebook and would of been better displaying their ecosystem.

    • Anonymous

      @seth_p….This has nothing to do with whether I like, or dislike the Tango app.  This is a Windows 7 PC ad, not a WP7 (another one their own products) and a mobile app for WP7, not made by Microsoft, ad!

      Microsoft can prop an app, at an event - nothing wrong with that; but a national television ad, to promote their own operating system is what they doing here, primarily.  If the makers of the Tango app, or any other mobile app, wants a national TV spot, they need to invest their own dollars, don’t you think?

      If nothing else, Seth, the end of the commercial clearly states that it all begins with a Windows 7 PC…

      And, dear Seth, as someone mentioned below, the laptop is a metaphor for the newborn.

    • http://twitter.com/mikehole mikehole

      @seth_p Looks like your missing the point of the advert. They are passing the baby around that would be lost using a phone.

  • Ria

    This would have been a GREAT advert for win 8 tablet :)

  • http://twitter.com/hellovaras Jose Varas

    I think they will do that once Skype is official

  • http://flavors.me/zlateway ZlateWay

    Haha so funny :D

  • Anonymous

    Passing it around seems much more awkward then on a tablet. Should have had a 7 series tablet in there.

    • http://www.twitter.com/wixostrix WixosTrix

      Perhaps, but I bet there are a lot more laptops than tablets being passed around around the world. 

    • Anonymous

      Increasingly their iPads being passed around. An iPad for every student in every classroom.

    • http://www.twitter.com/wixostrix WixosTrix

      It still doesn’t mean laptops aren’t. There will be more Windows 8 tablets and convertibles than iPads in schools in the long run. Schools want to run Office and native applications that they control.

  • http://twitter.com/iMarkG84 Mark Green

    im a Windows fan – yet no adverts have made me go – thats the Phone/PC i should buy.

    They dont seem to understand advertising.

    • HeatherL

      Even Tom has to allude to Apple in referencing that Ad, that is what happens when we are constantly playing catch-up 8-(

  • BucksterMcgee

    Hmm.. this is an odd comment… but does anyone else notice the rather “Aryan” look to the people in these new “Family” videos?

    Maybe I’ve missed some where that isn’t the case… but I can’t get over the feeling that they’ve all had the same…. “pale” people in them. Maybe just all part of a larger family… maybe?

    Hmm… hope I’m mistaken. : /

    • Seth_p

      I think you’re mistaken lol

    • Avatar Roku

      That’s not true, but it seems like you have a problem with us pale faces.

    • BucksterMcgee

      As a pale face myself, I’m not sure how to respond to that.

    • Guest

      I imagine they’re localized and you wont get the whitebread version in say China.

  • rojo

    FAIL! A better idea would be to have the family sitting in front of XBOX Kinect/phone using video chat and the other family on the PC. Passing a laptop around is way too awkward regardless of whether or not it is an ultra mobile pc.

    These commercials are not that good.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UWVRPJYQFEG7ZCHPD7LDPBR2CM LWSJR

      Families ‘pass around’ newborns so that people can hold the baby.  The laptop (with the baby) is a metaphor, Okay?

      Think beyond.

      Try it, please!

    • rojo

      Thanks for explaining but you don’t have to be insulting about it! Geez!

    • Guest

      Do you see Apple running “metaphors” instead of demonstrating advantages?

    • http://profiles.google.com/carlosrfonseca Carlos Ribeiro da Fonseca

      Nope. They know that “Joe Average” is, well, average and “metaphors” don’t work. Subtle hints in the music that they’re using Windows Live Messenger don’t work either.

  • http://twitter.com/bigbonly2u Syed Yasser

    Get Over the “Face time” Name..
    Call it a Video Calling I have been doing it From ages ..
    HATE the name “Face-Time” Screw Apple.
    Apple goes the MSN way with the fancy Name..

  • Anonymous

    Geez, I love Microsoft and are one of their biggest fans, but their marketing and commercials are just horrendous.  Almost embarassing they are so bad….dare I say cringe worthy! Gives me douche chills!!!!

    • http://www.twitter.com/wixostrix WixosTrix

      This one and the last one isn’t so bad, but I totally agree.  I just don’t understand how they don’t have the best people money could buy.

    • Guest

      Yes, why do they have some guy that looks like a pedophile takes a kind of cute Ad to creepy in 2 seconds flat.    

    • Guest

      The MS family is starting to get scarier then my real family!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Guest

      I dunno. Whatever you spawned from must be pretty scary.

    • Guest

      Even worst it is starting to look like something produced from a unholy union of Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates!

  • Binlid

    Anyone notice that the grandmother in the commercial is Tasha Yar from Star Trek the next generation? That somehow makes me feel very old…

    • Grannyville7989

      I can sort of see it but now I want actual confirmation on whether it’s her. Now it’s going to bug me every time I see this ad :)

      Also, Star Trek: The Next Generation is badass!

    • http://twitter.com/RobertCFP Robert Wade

      Trust me, it’s her.  She hasn’t changed in the past 10 yrs or so (appearing in a few horror flicks looking exactly this way…darn shame, too).

    • Matthew Smith

      Yes – I thought the same.  Certainly looks like her.

    • http://twitter.com/RobertCFP Robert Wade

      Yes, I did notice that.  She use to be so hot.  She went from ST-TNG to Pet Semetary to B-horror movies to obscurity.

  • Anonymous

    wouldn’t that have been a good opportunity to show off messenger and video kinect integration?

  • Anonymous

    ummm….isnt that Tasha Yar passing around the laptop??

  • Anonymous

    yeah i caught that too lol

  • Avatar Roku

    This whole campaign seems incredibly ill-timed. Wouldn’t all of these commercials have made more sense when the Metro interface is on Xbox, tablet, PC, and phone? Wouldn’t all of these commercials make more sense when Skype is available on Xbox, phone, tablet, and PC? Wouldn’t it make more sense when the Xbox companion apps are released and let you interact with Xbox from your phone or tablet?

    They couldn’t have waited less than a year to do these commercials?

    People don’t think of Xbox/windows7/WP7 being a family because currently they look nothing alike and have limited interoperability.

    It makes me so angry that they’re doing these commercials now and not next year.

    • http://www.twitter.com/wixostrix WixosTrix

      There is no reason they can’t have a similar campaign a year from now.  I much prefer them doing whatever they can do to raise awareness for the Microsoft brand.

    • Guest

      They have quarterly numbers to make now, and PC sales suck.

  • http://twitter.com/mcakins McAkins Online

    MS should just let Nokia handle all Ads for them.

    • Anonymous

      Nokia, Apple, Microsoft, Google etc  doesn’t do ads.. they all hire an ad agency to do it for them .. they only part is to approve the concept and pay the cash 

    • Guest

      “they only part is to approve the concept”

      And therein lies the issue. Most of these shouldn’t be approved and if the agency continually doesn’t deliver, like Crispin hasn’t, they should be fired and replaced, not left alone to damage MS’s reputation further. 

    • Anonymous

      Well you are right, Nokia recently stopped working with Wieden & Kennedy after a 4-year partnership. Now the are with a much smaller company (Inferno Group based in London) with better ideas who are carrying all their ads.. problem with MS  is that they like to work with big Ad agencies who are so “texbook”-like in their adveets and market campaigns.. they should go for the unkown bespoke kinda of ad agencies with fresh ideas..   

  • Guest

    I give up on MS’s ad agency and the people at MS who approve this shit. This particular scenario only serves to make a laptop look stupid and klunky compared to a tablet. Picture an iPad being used for the same use case and the comparison would be embarassing for the laptop. I mean how hard is it to come up with realistic cases that demonstrate the advantages of Windows on  a laptop and not the weaknesses?

    • Anonymous

      Microsoft’s ads are always to hit or miss. You never know which it is going to be…

    • http://www.twitter.com/wixostrix WixosTrix

      Seeing as there are over 300 million Live Messenger users, as well as all the Skype, Yahoo! Messenger, etc.  I’d say this is a very realistic use case.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t like the term “facetime-like”. It sounds like Microsoft is copying apple.  True to tell, Microsoft users have been video conferencing through Microsoft Messenger before the iPhone came along…

    • Anonymous

      I Agree! 

      Tom you should stop with those articles as if Microsoft been copying… this is not the first article that i’ve seen you post as if Microsoft is copying. In fact i believe there’s been other ads with video communications before. Nothing new here..

  • http://www.mainstreetchatham.com/ JimmyFal

    Fire the them already.

  • http://twitter.com/warex3d warex3D

    I know Microsoft is doing this ads to attract to the masses, but i really hope they can made an ad that can show windows 7 at hard work like 3d animation / VFX and design, some people believe windows is just for chat and office :(

  • Anonymous

    so the message: if I buy a PC I will have to put up with babies crying. greate tactic MSFT>

  • Anonymous

    Has Microsoft aired the “Kinect Effect” ad?

  • Larry

    So what app is that?  

    YOU NEED TO TELL PEOPLE WHAT THIS STUFF IS!!!!!

    What a waste of money.

    Is there any doubt when watching a iPhone or iPad ad what the product is?  No.  Why you ask?  They simply state it at least once.

    WTF are these people thinking?  Does any Joe consumer know that the add with the grocery list used a Windows, phone, skydive and Onenote…..umm eff NO.

  • Anonymous

    I have passed around a laptop so many times at our family events it’s ridiculous. This is what real family do people like it or not. Real families not tech blog fans are going to see themselves that’s the connection MS is after.

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  • JRY

    There must not be too many grandfathers in this crowd. I though this ad was great. It certainly got a chuckle out of me.

  • http://profiles.google.com/carlosrfonseca Carlos Ribeiro da Fonseca

    Anybody know why the other ad feature PowerPoint proeminenlty and Windows Live Messenger, you know, one of the cool products Microsoft has, only gets a sneaky/subtle tune? Sure, if you ever used it in full screen mode you know that that is what it looks like, but if you haven’t, how do you know that it’s even a Microsoft product they’re using?

    Who does an ad that leaves people guessing if the ad actually shows any product made by the advertiser? The only easely identifiable product is the Samsung ultrabook (or whatever they’re called)…

    Oh, right, Microsoft does!