Posts Tagged ‘Windows’

Windows Phone Commercial Fails to Complete the Call. Really.

November 9th, 2010

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?

Windows 7, Apple 14.

November 4th, 2009

Normally, I’m not a fan of advertising that makes fun of–or even mentions–your competition. At best such advertising usually ends up making the advertiser look whiny, petty or obnoxious; at worst, it can inadvertently boost awareness and even the image of the competition. If you do decide to go after your competition in your advertising, make sure you do so with exceptional intelligence, savvy and grace. And while you’re at it, make sure the competitor you’re taking on is bigger than you.

In other words, make sure you’re the world’s best marketer:  Apple.

Has any company in recent memory–or ever–skewered its competition with more impact or more class than Apple? Its marvelous “Mac vs. PC” campaign is relentlessly brilliant in the way it pokes fun at computers that use Microsoft’s Windows operating system.  Yet as devastating as these commercials are, they don’t make Apple look like cheap-shot artists; on the contrary, they reinforce a brand persona that is very clever, refreshing and likable. 

That is quite a testament to the outstanding writing and acting featured in this campaign. John Hodgman is hysterical as the doughy, somewhat clueless and utterly insecure PC, who looks like he might occasionally hang with–and perhaps even be related to–Bill Gates. In stark contrast stands Justin Long‘s Mac, a cool, calm and quietly confident hipster who comes across as a younger and humbler Steve Jobs. Mac or PC–whom would you rather have a drink with?

Apple’s latest ad, which tackles Microsoft’s new Windows 7 operating system, may just be their best effort yet. Rather than say anything specific about Windows 7, the ad simply reminds viewers of past problems associated with its predecessors. Given that Windows 7 appears to be getting pretty favorable reviews in the press, this tactic is a wise one; its unspoken message is, “Don’t be fooled–again–by anything you hear about the latest incarnation of Windows.”

It may be that Microsoft has in fact finally designed an operating system that is close to matching Apple’s high standards. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the quality of their marketing–while improving–is still only half as strong as Apple’s.

Which I guess means that Apple rates a 14 to Windows’ 7.