microsoft fallingBack in March, Ryan wrote an article questioning whether Microsoft has been losing brand credibility. These days, branding is crucial. Just three years ago, Microsoft was seated an number 11 on the list of top 100 brands, only to move to the 59th seat out of 100 more recently. Countless analysts have said they need to work on improving their brand, and it looks as though Microsoft feels the same way. Over at Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite for Windows, Thurrott points to an interesting article over at Fast Company describing some of the problems Microsoft has with their brand, and who they’ve hired to help improve it.

Unless you’re involved in the advertising market, you probably haven’t heard of Crispin Porter & Bogusky, but they’re big. They’ve been behind reviving and developing brands like Burger King, Domino’s, and Geek Squad, and they were the ones that came up with that whole “Truth” campaign which aimed to tell the truth about cigarettes and how harmful they are. Microsoft has chosen them as the ones who will be paid $300 million dollars for their consumer-branding campaign, something that has been described as an “act of desperation.”

Is Microsoft desperate? Paul Thurrott seems to think so. The article over at Fast Company suggests that nothing has hurt Microsoft more than Apple’s Mac vs. PC campaign. They say:

Nothing is doing more to carve away at Microsoft’s reputation — and contribute to its loss of market share — than the assault launched by Apple two years ago in the form of the “Mac vs. PC” spots featuring The Daily Show satirist John Hodgman. The ads became immediate pop-culture fixtures, spawning more than 1,000 video spoofs on YouTube and taking home last year’s Grand Effie, the ad industry’s highest honor for effectiveness

They went on to talk about how Microsoft has just taken it and hasn’t stood up for themselves. Microsoft is at a pivotal moment right now, and the firm they’ve hired knows this. Crispin’s CEO Jeff Hicks says: “There was a time when it was Avis against Hertz, Coke against Pepsi, Visa against American Express. I think Microsoft is at the epicenter of the great brand challenge of the next decade — or millennium.”

Crispin has been working with Microsoft since March in hopes of making Microsoft “cool.” Yes, Cool. They say you can’t chase cool to be cool. Can they do for Microsoft what they’ve done for other companies and improve their brand? Only time will tell, and we’ll have to wait until at least July to get a glimpse at what has been done for the campaign.