If your reaction to all of the hype swirling around the launch of Windows Vista this week is less "Wow!" and more "Whoa! Enough already!" then 2007 could be a long year. Microsoft plans to go all out this year, spending $500 million in 20 countries to market Vista, according to Advertising Age. (A Microsoft spokesperson refused to confirm that figure.) In the next several months, Microsoft plans to place advertising in various forms of media totaling 6.6 billion impressions--enough ads, in theory, to hit every person on the planet. "I am sure we will be inundated by Vista ads, especially on the Web," said Chris Swenson, a software market analyst at the NPD Group.
The company's media-saturation strategy may seem like overkill, but as late as December, according to a Forrester Research survey, more than 60 percent of consumers had not even heard of Vista. Evidently, Microsoft isn't looking to convince consumers that Vista is fun (as it did with the XBo or sexy (as it has tried to do with its Zune music player) or even fresh (as it did 12 years ago with Windows 95). "In hindsight, Windows 95 was flaky, but there was so much pent-up demand, and Windows 95 was such a big improvement [over Windows 3.1] that it really was a paradigm shift," said Gartner analyst Michael Silver. "Today, you're more likely to see that sort of excitement over a cell phone."