“Life Comes Together”: the alternative Windows ad campaign Microsoft didn’t run

Roughly eleven months ago, the big blue giant finally stood up for itself when it launched the largely popular and successful advertising campaign officially known as “Life without walls” featuring the infamous “I’m a PC” television ads. However, it might not have been the only advertising campaign Microsoft was considering at the time if some interesting videos I found today are any indication.

In the Vimeo account of John McNeil, then creative director at McCann Worldgroup – one of the advertising agency competing for the Windows gig at the time, are nine videos all titled “Life Comes Together” uploaded roughly 11 months ago. Both the timing of these videos and the fact that they conclude with the Windows logo leads me to the assumption that they are commercials from an alternative Windows campaign McCann must have pitched to Microsoft. Obviously history tells us they lost since Microsoft went with the “Life without walls” campaign pitched by Crispin Porter + Bogusky.

Comparing the two campaigns, these ads are even more emotions-driven than “Life without walls”. In except just two scenarios where we actually see the screen of a computer, almost all of these ads focus on experiences and moments that are either enabled or could be enhanced by “Windows”. All in all, it’s the sort of ads that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I find them quite enjoyable.

I’ve embedded them all here for your enjoyment.

Update: Corrected the “Life without walls” campaign was by Crispin Porter + Bogusky.

30 insightful thoughts

  1. I enjoyed those ads. Thanks for sharing them! Almost made think that Microsoft is a kind and warm company.

    PS: I also expressed my gratitude by clicking on the Google Ads 🙂

  2. These would have been forgotten easily. They’re just dull. I’m sure most people who have seen the “I’m a PC” ads still remember them.

  3. Same here. I thought most of them were good as well… I like how they target your emotions rather than doing a Im a PC sort of deal like apple…

    I always liked how some use a different approach than the others. Its a shame that the big M didnt use any of these…

  4. I agree, many of these are really good ads. I especially like the emotional ones like the first one, Rose. It reminded me of a day last week where I was looking through home movies and photos of my daughter when she was younger on the PC. I had a great time reminiscing, and that’s a fantastic emotion to associate with your brand, even if there’s not a lot of product shots or forced sales pitches.

  5. Most of them remind me of Hallmark ads but not as good. I’m very open to ads that are all about mood or emotion as opposed to selling the features of a product….I’m one of the few that really liked the Gates/Seinfeld ads, but these sort of fell flat for me.

  6. All I know is Forest needs to stop playing Unreal Tournament and get with that chick…

    I’m glad they went with the commericals they did. These strike a bit more into the emtional side, but I really don’t see them as being that effective in getting the PC strength point accross

  7. *sigh* These are not what I would have wanted to see on TV when Microsoft was expected to return with some combative marketing at a time when they felt needing to tell their own story. We wanted something juicy…something that would get us saying “yes! we ARE PCs…!” and I think the “I’m a PC” campaign did that well.

  8. I liked the Seinfeld ads better . These ads do not talk about PCs , which kinda misses the point .

    (Neither do the Seinfeld ads , except prolly for the last lines in each one . However , nothing says PC like Bill Gates.)

  9. How can Alex be so blind! She’s pretty, cute, and really nice! Yet his mind is on some silly game? Ugh.

    Anyway, these ads are cute, but other than Panoramic or maybe even Directions, they don’t do much to persuade me to use any particular Microsoft product/service. Seeing people being happy and stuff is nice, but there’s no real close tie-ins with what Microsoft has to offer, so it’s probably not effective in the long term.

  10. I like the Panoramic, Directions and Family History.

    I can see most people (including gamers) will roll their eyes right after the “Alex” ad.

  11. Aw man, I would have flipped out if I heard Sufjan Stevens in a Windows commercial. Two great tastes that taste great together.

  12. I liked them. Ideally, they should have split the account between these and the current firm. These present a nice touch feely kind of thing that is unassailable. Whereas some people can complain about the current crop of ads, no one could touch these, and that would be pretty good for MS.

  13. I don’t like this ads. They look like sucked in soul-less humans. It would hit better if the slogan was something like “Get a life”.

  14. These ads would have been a big mistake. They don’t distinguish Microsoft from Apple – you can find directions and keep playlists on a Mac. Microsoft did the right thing with their “I’m a PC” (starting to fight back against the fallacy that PC users aren’t cool). Compare with those, these are weak and forgettable.

  15. I tell you people, I don’t like people like that “Alex” kid, it just riles me when I see someone who spends more time on his computer than with friends.

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