Microsoft has a long history of astoundingly bad marketing. Ballmer. Seinfeld. Baffling at best. And while there are a few notable exceptions, somehow Microsoft manages to fuck up even their successes.
First, I think we can start by saying Microsoft should be ashamed of it’s marketing teams for allowing Mac to beat them like a red-headed stepchild. Mac has something like 8% of the OS market. They would not even have half of that if it weren’t for allowing the blatantly untrue claims in the Mac ads go uncontested.
Second, most Windows ads are bad. Really bad.
Around 2008 there was a series of television ads (running more than any other Microsoft ads) that featured telephone interviews with various CEOs. These conversations were then animated over with the shittiest animation they could produce.
In the ad, the “narrator” asks the CEO what the economic tsunami means to a surfing CEO. The CEO rattles off a bunch of bullshit about technology being so great, and the commercial is over. That’s the ad. There is no point; there is no marketing message (other than a big Microsoft logo at the end). I’m convinced they just ran these ads to burn money for a tax write-off.
Occasionally, Microsoft will produce a fantastic ad, and then it will never show it. Take the ads for the release of the IE8 browser, viewable here. They’re actually funny. They’re actually good. There’s also the commercial with the Kylie, the 4 1/2 year old who demonstrates how easy it is to edit and print her own photos on a PC. A great ad – just rarely shown on TV.
And now some constructive criticism. Microsoft needs to call Mac’s bullshit. They need to show the good ads, and eliminate the crappy Enterprise ads. Enterprise ads need to outline the true benefits and reasons to go with a Microsoft Enterprise contract – and if that part of their business needs to be overhauled to provide value: DO IT.
I’d be alright if Microsoft came up with some new ads in the Crazy People-style for Windows 7 that basically said: Look, Vista really did suck. We’re sorry. We made Windows 7 and it’s pretty damn good.