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Microsoft Taps Execs for Campaign

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Coca-Cola North America CMO Katie Bayne stars in a new campaign breaking this week for Microsoft that makes the case to businesses that the right software can help them do their jobs better.

The ads, via JWT, New York, feature audio conversations with Bayne, WestJet CEO Sean Durfy, Quiksilver CEO Robert McKnight and Eric Ryan, the co-founder and chief brand architect for Method. As each of the execs is talking, Monty Python-esque animation plays outlining what each are saying. For instance, when Bayne mentions a "mountain of data," the visual is the word "data" spelled out dozens of times to form a cliff replete with a mountain goat on top. Print and online executions are also part of the mix.

In each conversation, the execs talk about how their business gets done, touching on the role of software in sometimes oblique ways. Ryan, for example, explains that the company adheres to its mission statement "Keep it weird," by fostering an open atmosphere. He never mentions software, let alone Microsoft software, but a fortune cookie style banner at the end of the ad asks, "Does your enterprise software really understand how people share ideas?" Tagline: "Because it's everybody's business."

The effort comes after Microsoft launched a $300 million campaign via Crispin Porter + Bogusky featuring co-founder Bill Gates and comedian Jerry Seinfeld that many consumers found inscrutable. Though many thought the ads were pulled intentionally, Rob Reilly, co-executive creative director at Crispin, told Adweek that "the point of the Bill and Jerry stuff was to get people thinking about Microsoft in a different way." Reilly said, "So, when 'I'm a PC' came, you were ready for something different. It was always designed to be two weeks. It did exactly what it was supposed to do."