Despite hiring political advertising superstar Mark Penn, Microsoft seems to have no clue how to advertise their own products. Here’re three commercials that show this. These are certainly Microsoft’s worst commercials
Microsoft Loves The iPhone
They say no press is bad press. This commercial for the new Lumia Windows 8 smartphone, seems more an ad for the iPhone, than for the Lumia. The Lumia gets a cursory nod by name at the end, but the iPhone plays a far greater role, and despite the narration, still seems to be the cooler phone.
Instead of emphasizing the benefits of their in-house search engine, Bing, Microsoft decided to get nasty and attacked Google in a series of ads, focussed around the buzzword “scroogled”. On Youtube (ironically owned by Google), where Microsoft posted the ads, this particular ad focussed around Google shopping has 268 likes to 712 dislikes. Customers seem to be responding consistently negatively to these ads, but they just keep advertising anyway. A new scroogled ad is coming out next week. P.S I’d rather look at a Google product ad, than anything Microsoft has to offer.
As one customer put it:
Dear Microsoft. Spend more time improving your own products instead of simply bashing your competitors for something you yourself do.
-Sincerely everyone with a brain
Don’t Gamble with Google
Once again feeling threatened, Microsoft launched a negative campaign against Google’s Docs editor which was fundamentally flawed, and riddled with lies as to the risks of using the service. The campaign performed so poorly that by day 2 the ad was moved to the unlisted section of youtube.
Despite the move, the ad has still garnered 100k+ views, 277 likes, and 1025 dislikes, showing once again the outrage over Microsoft’s controversial advertising practices. Loyal users were quick to defend Google’s service. The most liked comment on the page was “I don’t have any Microsoft documents to convert because they are all made in Google Docs in the first place. And the formatting is excellent”, responding to Microsoft’s claims that Google Docs cannot properly convert Microsoft’s proprietary formats.
Outlook.com – Made For Deleting
The mistakes in this ad are much milder than in the other campaigns, but I’m still not a fan. Outlook.com is a fantastic product, with a variety of features superior to its’ competitors, so I don’t understand why Microsoft chose to focus entirely on the ability to mass-delete. Of all the features available. Receiving several dozen email a day, I get the overload, and the feeling of wanting to be able to quickly clear things away, but I’m still not impressed with this campaign, because I think it’s narrow-sited, and it’s on a relatively easy to replicate feature.
Surface: It has a keyboard that clicks on
Once again, I feel like Microsoft wasted a chance to market a fantastic product, with their surface campaign. The entire ad, which doesn’t even really show the tablet in use, basically shows people clicking on the keyboard cover to a rhythm I’m sure it was a very high-quality expensive production… but it says nothing. Microsoft is not known as a consumer products company, especially for hardware, so they should have introduced their product to the market by showing off its’ features. Instead, they came up with…this. People aren’t going to like when I say this, but Microsoft really needs to take some advertising queues from Apple, whose tablet ads showcase features, popular apps, and potential use cases, instead of a cheap plastic keyboard case that clicks on.
Conclusion – Microsoft Worst Commercials
Microsoft’s ad struggles aren’t new. In their 35 year existence they’ve never been able to quite focus their marketing efforts. It’s time for them to take a step back and reconsider their marketing efforts, before it ruins their shot at ever becoming a consumer products company. An official representative of Microsoft was unavailable for comment at the time of this writing, but we did get in touch with one MSFT engineer, who responded “I guess Microsoft mostly released it in the wake of the upcoming Google I/O. Google is going to get a lot of press in the coming days and will most probably announce new products and services. This ad just shows the arch-rivals involved in yet another spat.”.
What do you think of Microsoft’s advertising?
When Microsoft released Windows 8, a lot of users were left dazed and confused, (see video at bottom), and even I had some unanswered questions. Windows 8 is designed (and confusingly so) to frustrate. Still, once you master all of its nuances, it’s got some incredible features that make it worth the hassle (maybe).
For new users of Windows 8 looking for guidance, I highly recommend James Howard Russell’s new book, Windows 8 Kickstart, which provides fantastic instructions on getting to know the OS, while also offering helpful tips and tricks for more experienced users.
One of the greatest testaments to Mr. Russell, is that he has managed to go into detail on a ridiculous number of features, while still breaking each step down into easy-to-follow directions. Learning becomes linear, and learning the operating system becomes much easier.
Ever detail, from the partners involved in creating the sports app, to the various different versions of print app, has been thoroughly researched, and it shows.
Another area of excellence, is in the book’s design. Kickstart makes frequent use of special side-boxes, screenshots, and tables, to make the book more enjoyable, and usable as a reference guide. After I read through it, I found myself frequently referring to Kickstart, as I tested Windows 8. It was my companion through the fire(too figurative?), helping me move my tests quickly along, and coming to my rescue if I got a confusing message of some kind , and didn’t know what to do next.
If I had this book when I started using Windows 8, perhaps I would have enjoyed it more
Check out this page, which illustrates my point on its’ design, and definitely pick Windows 8 Kickstart up here.
Like many professionals, I need to run some Windows-only software, but my main computer is a mac. After a few hours, I had Windows apps running alongside my mac apps, and I did it all for under $100 (about $60 for me personally). Here’s how we ran Windows quickly and cheaply on a Mac, using Parallels Desktop 8.
What You’ll Need:
- A Mac
- Parallels Desktop 8
- A discount code for Parallels Desktop 8- we’ll explain later
- An old PC- can be from as early as 2001
- Recommended: External Hard Drive, or flash drive of over 25 Gigabytes- best if formatted in format that PCs can understand, such as exFAT. (this can be done in Mac’s disk utility).
What we’re doing:
Parallels allows you to “copy” your old computer into what’s called a virtual machine- essentially a computer that runs within your computer. This allows you to use Windows without leaving your mac, or turning it off. By copying it, we’re avoiding having to buy a new copy of the operating system ($99+).
- Visit Retailmenot.com (click to go directly to Parallels page) and find a suitable coupon for Parallels desktop 8 if available- there usually are one or two. This will bring the full price of $80 down by quite a bit. You can also get it for less from select retailers (i.e Amazon). (Approximate Time: 5 minutes)
- Buy Parallels Desktop 8 on your mac and download. Make sure to copy down your license key and product key after purchase. You’ll need them. Let it download in the background while you complete the next steps (Approximate time: 15 minutes)
- Now we’re going to move over to your PC. On your PC, open up this page. Download the item labelled “Parallels Transporter Agent for Windows” and install. (Approximate time: 12 minutes).
- Run the transporter agent, follow the simple prompts and save to your desktop. It’s important that you check the box that says you’ve already moved your files. This will save a ton of time and space. The file will be big, so it may be better if you save it directly to the portable hard drive, if you went that route. (Approx: 30 minutes)
- For this tutorial we’re going the hard-drive route for transfer, but you can also transport these files over Wifi- it just takes a long time. Once the file from the transporter agent are on the hard drive, eject the hard drive and plug it into the mac. (The following steps take around 20 minutes).
- Open Parallels Desktop on your Mac.
- In the top menu bar, go to file<new.
- Select “Migrate Windows from a PC” and click “continue.
- Select “external storage device” and click continue,
- In the next window, click “choose” and click on the file currently on your portable hard drive.
- Continue through the prompts, and in minutes, you’ll have Windows all set up.
- Voila! Enjoy Windows right on your Mac, in only about an hour and twenty minutes, and for only $60.
Bonus: Here’s the biggest secret! No matter what version of Windows you’re running (XP or above), you can upgrade it to the latest version of Windows now that you repurposed it to your mac, and it will cost you no more than $60- around $40 as a student (this saves at least $40).
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Related: Why Windows 8 Is Awesome…And Sucks