Microsoft unveils new ad campaign to boost PC sales

Highlighting the power of Windows 10 on Intel's Skylake

Microsoft announced a new ad campaign to boost sagging PC sales with chip-maker Intel and OEM partners Dell, HP and Lenovo. Titled "PC does what," the campaign highlights the capabilities, form factors and improved performance of the modern PC.

The campaign will launch officially on October 19 in the US and China, and partners say that the ads will cover print, TV and online spaces. Additionally, there is also a PCDoesWhat.com micro-site that will provide consumers with more information.

"We decided to start [in China and the US] first" because "these are the largest markets in the world where trends are set," said Antonio Lucio, HP's Chief Marketing Officer. Dell added that these are strategic starting points, and the partners will evaluate the success of the campaign to scale to other markets in the future.

Rethinking the PC

Microsoft previewed a few of the short TV spots that will be shown during the six-week campaign. Although the ads show the products from Dell, HP and Lenovo, the quirky spots serve more as an informational campaign, highlighting the experience delivered by Windows 10, Intel's sixth generation Skylake processor and exciting form factors and designs.

Some of these features include slim design, 18-hour battery life and lightweight form factors. The ads showcase convertibles as well, showing both detachable two-in-one hybrids as well as laptops with 360-degree hinges.

From a performance perspective, the ad explicitly highlights the graphics boost brought by Skylake, calling out a 30x improvement in 3D graphics.

"What a PC can do today compared to what a PC can do five years ago is a black and white difference," said moderator Patrick Moorehead, analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy.

When Skylake was unveiled, Kirk Skaugen, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Intel's Client Computing Group, claimed that over 300 mobile designs and 200 desktop designs will be available this year to consumers. These designs span laptops, tablets, convertibles, all-in-ones, mini PCs, towers and more.

New experiences

In addition to new hardware and performance gains, Microsoft is also highlighting some new experiences delivered by Windows 10.

This includes Windows Hello, where users can log into new PCs with Intel RealSense cameras using their faces, and Cortana.

During a press briefing, Microsoft representatives also highlighted touch and inking.

The common cause

Even though Microsoft and Intel have partnered with individual PC manufacturers in the past on ad campaigns, the "PC can do what" campaign is the first of its kind in rallying competing OEMs together in a single ad.

"This is a common theme you want to rally around despite competing in the same space," said Karen Quintos, Chief Marketing Officer at Dell. Not only must these manufacturers compete against themselves, but they want to reverse the trend of declining PC sales. Intel reported that sales of its processors declined 19% year-over-year in the third quarter.