Exactly when did it become cool to ask, “Really?” to express one’s disappointment or anger? I think I first started noticing it on Cougartown, one of my and my wife’s favorite TV shows. Used properly, as it is in this TV commercial for the Windows Phone, and it can be pretty amusing. This commercial also effectively dramatizes in humorous fashion the ridiculous and even dangerous obsession many of us–present company included–have with our mobile phones.
But while this spot does a nice job of showing us the problem and entertaining us in the process, it does nothing to explain why the Windows Phone is the solution. Presumably it’s somehow designed to make many tasks simpler and quicker to perform, but if that’s the case, show us how! Rather than humoring us with repeated demonstrations of the problem, wow us with one or two demonstrations of the solution.
Apple ads–whether they be for the iPod, iPhone, iTouch, iMac or MacBook–have knocked our socks off again and again with simple but impressive demonstrations of their products’ amazing performance. If the Windows Phone really is a significant improvement over the status quo, it should certainly lend itself to a very impressive presentation. This commercial, however, leaves me thinking, “Either there’s nothing really special about this phone, or Microsoft has created one of the most underachieving commercials of all time.”
The commercial makes one other fatal mistake: it says the brand name only once, and doesn’t do so until the 55-second point. This destines the commercial to join the seemingly endless list of relatively entertaining commercials that communicated virtually nothing to the target audience about who the advertiser is or what makes the product special.
It’s enough to make a guy want to call Steve Ballmer and say, “You supposedly have a truly superior mobile phone, and this is the way you advertise it? Really?“