Microsoft Turns to Crispin and the Rapper Common for New Clothing Line

New Branded Apparel Is Meant to Suggest Microsoft's 1980s Salad Days

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Microsoft is going from marketing computer programs to making clothes, with a new line of graphic tees dubbed "Softwear by Microsoft."

"Softwear," instead of software. Get it?

It's no surprise that Crispin Porter & Bogusky -- the agency Microsoft is relying on to make it cool -- had a hand in the line of urban geek shirts expected to hit select stores on Dec. 15. Crispin conceived of the collection, the branding and many of the designs, as well as all the marketing materials, an agency representative said.

The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant once again called upon a celebrity spokesperson to help it gain some street cred, this time in the form of rapper Common. He contributed designs to the collection, reminiscent of the '80s, a time when he and Microsoft both came of age.

The line features retro MS-DOS fonts and a Bill Gates mugshot tee. It launched this week with a bash in New York.


Microsoft calls it a "clothing line that taps the nostalgia of when PCs were just starting to change our lives," one that's made to "showcase the DOS days of the software company that now connects over a billion people."

The clothes are the latest extension of Microsoft's "I'm a PC"consumer marketing blitz from Crispin, a response to rival Apple's long-running "Mac vs. PC campaign" from TBWA Media Arts Lab.

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