By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
May 10, 2011

Microsoft’s new marketing campaign seems to be stuck in a time warp of Apple’s making

Reactions to the new Microsoft TV ads — the first of which aired Monday night (video below the fold) and featured a young woman who is persuaded to accept a free state-of-the-art Windows 7 PC by a salesman who secretly built a computer store in her home — run, like water faucets, either hot or cold.

Half seem to agree with Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, who wrote in Business Insider that “They’re the perfect counterpoint to Apple’s somewhat snooty and elitist ads.”

The other half are more like “Aden,” the commentator on GeekWire who rudely invited Microsoft to build a shop in his posterior.

What strikes me as interesting is that the stated targets of the campaign are not the people lining up to buy iPads, but Microsoft’s own customers, whose image of what a Windows machine is was formed by Apple’s AAPL “Get a Mac” campaign: buggy, nerdy and riddled with malware. (See Mac vs. PC: Inside the ad wars.)

Here’s how Microsoft MSFT describes their new campaign:

“The ads feature real couples who thought their old (4+ years) PC was ‘good enough’ being surprised to find a Personal PC store built out in their homes. One half of the couple was in on the plan to surprise the other. The couple even received a new PC of their choosing at the end of the experience. The couples, when face-to-face with the breadth of PCs available, are happy to discover the unparalleled variety of features, power, eye-popping colors, textures and designs of Windows PCs.”

The first ad (via YouTube):

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