Maybe Microsoft is secretly auditioning for a spot in the fall television sit-com lineup. Following up on its recent “Gmail Man” spoof, the company today rolled out a new online campaign featuring a new character, a behind-the-times salesman named Tad — depicting him as trying to foist outdated technology from VMware on unsuspecting business customers.

“Some people get so obsessed with having the latest, newest, most-advanced technology all the time,” Tad says. “That’s a rat race, man.”

The campaign’s debut is timed to the start of the annual VMworld conference. VMware is headed by former Microsoft executive Paul Maritz.

Frank Shaw, Microsoft’s communications chief, acknowledges in a post today that “we’ve been having some fun and taking a more pointed tone in some of our communications of late.”

Shaw cites other examples, recent and past, and says that people “can expect to see us continue to find ways to tell our story, on our own and against our competitors, especially where there is a gap between perception and facts, using ads, tweets, video, infographics, and, we hope, more than a dash of humor.”

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  • Guest

    Congratulations! This is the sort of funny and irreverent tone Microsoft needs to set to become more hip. More iPoddy, if you will.

  • guest

    Microsoft should put more attention and focus on really innovating and creating good products vs. their current claimed “innovation” and “a couple of releases behind copying” product development strategy

    • Anonymous

      That’s really such a bullsh*t line. Would you consider Apple innovative? They’re much much more committed to marketing than MS. They’ve successfully convinced much of the world the iPad is a good product, a truly impressive feat. Hail to the “reality distortion field!”

  • Michael Brian Bentley

    This made me smile and be uncomfortable at the same time. Here’s a
    company using the 70’s thing thematically to make the point is that
    their competition is heavily vested in the past.

    Using a lonnnng
    commercial that takes its time getting to the point. I winced at the
    taste and wondered if people still watch commercials?

  • Dan

    If you are truly confident in your products and services, you shouldn’t have to put your money and energy into making videos telling people why everyone else sucks.

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