A few weeks back, I wrote about Microsoft’s Mojave Experiment and got slammed for being too pro-Microsoft. Well, last night Microsoft ran the first ads in its new Windows consumer campaign and I’m not going to win any friends at Microsoft for saying this – this new campaign sucks. Maybe it’s because I’m not American. Maybe its because I don’t watch Seinfeld but it’s a minute and a half of… I don’t know what. It just leaves me empty. Windows, The Future, Delicious… WTF?
Microsoft says that the ad is:
“More than just a quirky ad about nothing, the newest Microsoft ad for Windows signals the beginning of a series of initiatives to improve consumers’ experience with Windows products – in retail, on the Web and working with manufacturers to make PCs faster and easier to use.”
OK, so maybe this is a teaser. Maybe it will get better – after all, Brad Brooks, Corporate Vice President for Windows Consumer Product Marketing, says that this is just to engage conversation, and that future ads will tell a story through Microsoft’s employees, through the products that Microsoft is building around Windows and how they connect the software, online services and PC experience in a way that’s new for consumers. Brooks continues to say that the campaign has two end goals:
- Re-engage consumers emotionally around the Windows brand.
- Drive a great customer experience at all touchpoints and all levels.
Sounds good… now, let me think of a competitor that enjoys tremendous brand loyalty (for all its faults) and is strong on customer experience… umm… that’s a tough one… oh yes, Apple!
For all their untruths, the Mac vs. PC ads are funny and that’s how they engage people.
I’m not saying that Microsoft should copy Apple’s ads, or counter them in some way – too much water has passed under the bridge now and anyway, they will get slated for being defensive. A big campaign highlighting the benefits of Windows is a great idea but this is too conservative, too slow. Microsoft uses some great videos at its launch events and conferences. Videos with drama, excitement and humour. They have used some good public ads in the past too – like the Xbox ad that got banned (Life is short, play more) – sure, it may have been distasteful, but it was humourous and it got people talking, so the Xbox marketing team got their next ad banned too (getting something banned is not always bad – it worked for Frankie Goes To Hollywood in the 1980s). I’m not suggesting that an ad has to be controversial to be effective (the Microsoft Unified Communications video that I featured in yesterday’s post is a good example), but it does need to grab hold of people and make them want to watch it!
Like I said, maybe it’s because I’m British and, just as our sense of humour is not appreciated globally, maybe I don’t “get” the Seinfeld ad – after all, this is a national campaign for the USA, not Europe. Maybe that’s why I’m an IT architect and not a marketing professional. I just hope it gets better than this…