The First Windows 11 Ad is … Curious

Posted on September 10, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 11 with 55 Comments

Yesterday, Microsoft launched its Windows 11 advertising campaign, which is ironic since Windows 11 will be full of advertising.

Kidding, kidding. Well, not really.

But according to the software giant, it is trying to raise “awareness and excitement around Windows 11” with a 60-second advertisement, which is set to the song “All Starts Now” by Odessa featuring Tim Myers.

“The ad follows its hero as she explores the visually stunning new Windows, walking past apps in the new Microsoft Store, playing games with Xbox’s Master Chief, realizing [?] Windows 11 widgets emerging from a beautiful cloud[,] and chatting with a friend who though on the other side of the world seems close enough to touch, all representing the seamless experiences that Windows 11 makes possible,” the laborious explanation notes.

Judge for yourself.

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Comments (55)

55 responses to “The First Windows 11 Ad is … Curious”

  1. yoshi

    *which is ironic since Windows 11 will be full of advertising.*


    This is why I come here. The no holding back and calling out of BS. Thank you.

    • mikegalos

      Which is ironic on a site flooded with interstitial, online and video ads.

      • ronh

        A web site is not the same as an OS.


        I gladly pay the premium for this site, and I don't see any ads.


        I don't pay for Windows, and now there will be ads. It is not too hard to block ad domains if you want to, or have the skill too.


        I don't like ads mixed in with content. It should be visibly evident what is an ad, so I can ignore them if I want. This is the most frustrating thig when searching online... more ads than search results.


        This is an important topic that Paul has been talking to us for a decade now. I hope there are a lot of comment on this topic

        • jdawgnoonan

          If you bought a computer with Windows you paid for Windows. It isn't free.

          • mestiphal

            That is correct, you buy a computer you are paying the OEM license. As far as I know, if you build a computer from scratch, you still need to buy Windows to install it. You can't just download it off the MS website and install it on a clean drive. Again, this is as far as I know, things might have changed in the last 10 years since I put a computer together.


            If they start integrating ads on an OS, where will it stop? Next thing you know, you get on your car to go to work and have to listen to an ad before you can shift into gear. Stop light coming up? you better hope you can squeeze in that 15 - 30 second ad before you can hit the brakes.

          • rm

            Yes, but it is all relative. If they were not preparing to make money on the Ads, then they would increase the price of Windows to the OEMs. You pay either way.

      • hrlngrv

        If you pay to subscribe to thurrott.com you avoid the ads. If only there were some way to pay for Windows to avoid ads.

    • remc86007

      Maybe I'm dense, but I don't really understand how it is ironic that a company is using advertising to sell a product that contains ads. Would it be unironic if Microsoft didn't advertise Windows 11? Is it ironic when sporting events are advertised because the venue will display ads during the game?


      What am I missing here? I agree with mikegalos that it is a tad rich for Paul, who's site literally has full page pop-up ads (which often freeze my browser), to so heavily criticize Microsoft for promoting their own products and services in Windows.

  2. jdawgnoonan

    The ad seems to simply show that Windows is a me too system that can do everything that the other systems can do, but that it also has Halo. Although, with XCloud, which OS doesn't have Halo? It doesn't play to the legacy apps which in reality are Windows only advantage in the consumer space outside of the fact that people are used to Windows being the default OS on new computers.

  3. bschnatt

    Reminds me of the weird Palm Pre ads. Umm, what are they trying to say? LOL

  4. jim-wilson

    It's visually pleasing and intriguing. The music is very nice. The catchphrase "It all starts now" is quite promising. I don't mean to be cynical in my expression of my desire that something new, helpful, and enjoyable is what is promised by the "It all starts now" theme.

  5. codymesh

    is there some deeper meaning to the visuals like the MS Teams window floating above the water while on a kayak the or is the whole thing supposed to be like, just vibes, bro?

  6. Saarek

    I wish Microsoft would sell a version of Windows without the ads and spyware baked in. I'm happy to pay not to be the product.

  7. pexzor

    Am I the only one who thought that she was about to get blown away by that soldier?

  8. hrlngrv

    I'm sure this ad will spur hundreds of additional license sales over the course of Windows 11's life cycle.

  9. Benoit Lamarche

    Like most advertising seen to today, it is entertaining at best, and quite presumptuous. And it does not tell you anything about the product.

  10. winner

    I didn't see her walk past the prompt to try Edge, or request to use Bing, or even a Screen of Death...

  11. bats

    LOL....believe me....no one is going to get excited over Windows 11. People get excited over devices or hardware, in general, but for a general purpose operating system........no.


    Was Windows 10 really that popular? LOL...the answer to that is, "No." Remember when Microsoft was predicting a certain number of Windows 10 users during a specific period of time, and it never happened? The funny thing was.....Windows 10 was free. It will be the same for Windows 11. People don't identify their computing device with it's operating system. rather, they do it by its manufacturer.


    This ad, was a total waste of money. Perhaps it's going to raise eyeballs for Game Pass subscribers, but at the end of the day, all "normal" people will do is facebook, zoom, youtube, and surf the web using Google Chrome (not Microsoft's Chromium Edge)......all of which are not Microsoft products.

    • bats

      Let me just add this.......Microsoft is like "the" shopping mall. People don't go to the mall, just to be in the mall, (unless your trying to pick up chicks or dudes). People go to the mall for the stores in it. Some of the stores in this "Microsoft Mall" is actually a "mall within the mall," which is Web browser, to which everyone uses and that's Google Chrome.


      I have said this before and I'll say it again, the Chrome browser is like an operating system. You don't see Google making television saying "browse the beautiful web" like Microsoft constantly tries to do with Edge, do you? Yet, people pass on Edge and use Chrome instead, despite the privacy concerns and the fact that Chrome is such a plain looking browser.


      Whoever comes up with these marketing strategies for Microsoft, really doesn't understand or relate to the people of today. Microsoft plainly needs fresh new blood for it's company.

  12. bettyblue

    Windows 11 is one giant ad for MacOS where this stuff absolutely will not happen.


    Add to that the huge success of the M1 and the very successful push to get developers to port their apps……and soon the next version of the M series of chips. Who knows maybe those new Mac’s withe the M1X/M2 will come out on the same day as Windows 11 :)

  13. mattbg

    I've never felt this way using Windows 10, so I'm looking forward to the transformation that Windows 11 will bring.

  14. dallasnorth40

    Very pretty! I liked it.

  15. L Gilles

    You, as readers of a technology blog, are not the target.

    The ad is for general awareness of a new OS from Microsoft for main stream users.

    It's pretty and you'll find your known games and office stuff. It's enough.

  16. hellcatm

    I most of the time skip commercials, but once in a while if I see one that catches my eye I'll watch it. This would have caught my eye, but after watching it I was "Huh?". While visually interesting, this would have been a good second or third commercial for them to show on TV. The first should show more of Windows, its start menu, and other looks of the actual product. This was too artsy for a first commercial and most people are going to have the same reaction I did.


    This ad isn't for me anyway, most ads don't work on me. If I watch one and think it looks cool I'll forget what product it's for 5 minutes later but I'll remember the ad. Ads don't make me want to buy a product. But still this ad I don't think will make people a non-Windows person want to use Windows and that's what they should be going for, even though most apple users wouldn't switch to Windows anyway.

    • jdawgnoonan

      I agree with you on ads in general. As far as this ad goes, I guess it is saying something like Windows can do everything every other OS can already do but also has Master Chief?

  17. scj123

    They seem to have hired the same hummingbird that Apple used for their magic keyboard advert

  18. wright_is

    It looks like it is trying to be an Apple ad, but without understanding what makes an Apple ad an Apple ad...


    I liked the Master Chief bit, that was funny. But the rest of it was pretty pointless. Nice effects, but bleh...

  19. simont

    Hopefully, this ad campaign won't crash Windows 11 explorer.exe or any other component.

  20. polloloco51

    I can just bet, Windows 11 will start a host of DOJ investigations.

    For one big reason:

    Abusing it's hold on the PC market, with the arbitrary system requirements. Driving PC users to buy new PCs.






    The extremely stringent requirements will solely benefit Microsoft and it's OEM partners, and disfranchise it's competitors like Google and Apple.


    *On the other side of the argument, consumers can buy Apple, Chromebooks and/or stick with Windows 10 for a few more years.


    However, with Microsoft telling people, their PCs cannot be upgraded. They may have to buy entire new Windows PCs. This certainly does raise the prospect of anti-trust investigations. Or at minimum, the appearances of one.


    This may sound like a wild, crazy stretch.


    Anything is possible!

    • rickcosby

      We can't say that it's arbitrary because we don't know what they have planned for future versions and they can't tell us that without divulging information not yet public. Right now, Windows 10 and 11 are almost the same. In a couple of years, however, they may not be. New hardware can be made more secure because it has hardware features not available in older machines. Right now Windows isn't using all of these capabilities and it seems arbitrary but what if the next version uses features only available in TPM 2.0? Existing customers are not being hurt by not being able to upgrade. Windows 10 is going to be supported for years.

    • nbplopes

      I’m very much pro regulating some smartphone manufactures policies and practices, the most prominent being Apple and Google. Yet government have been refusing to regulate these kinds of computing devices even though their surpassed the PC (Windows or iMac) as population digital drivers.


      I cannot see why than they would come and regulate Windows PCs …





  21. navarac

    More gobbledegook crapspeak, because... Microsoft.

  22. javial

    Never bought or paid anything for a company that appear in an ad in Windows.

  23. angusmatheson

    Hey, it is better than the surface click/windows 8 adds. Those were terrible. At least this had something to do with computing and the applications people use on computers.

  24. zself

    Insipid copywriting. Pseudo-consumer focus of anti-consumer company. Crazy times. Semi-conscious marketing "thinking."

  25. erichk

    I like the "aesthetics" of the ad ... but it's kind of all over the map IMO.

  26. nbplopes

    We can always count on Microsoft to do the right thing after doing everything else. This is just another iteration … the question is … will be this one the right one? Those widgets point to Not.

  27. markbyrn

    So when you get blown up with Windows 11, you sink in quicksand? 

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