Vista advertising: Not selling Microsoft's value

by Matt Asay

I'm in the middle of watching what apparently others had inflicted on them during the Superbowl (I'm a soccer guy - I watch real football): Microsoft's "a href="">Clearification" campaign for Windows Vista (link courtesy of OS Weekly.)

Nothing could be more confusing. Or annoying.

It's like the ad agency was desperate to be like a Wes Anderson film (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, etc.), and failed miserably to capture his genius. Or even his worst moments.

Bill Gates did a poor job of pitching Vista to Newsweek readers. Now the entire company seems intent on lobotomizing the world into buying Vista through sheer, relentless inanity. (You can watch one of the TV spots here).

I've seen Vista running. It's very pretty. I've talked with some Microsofties who describe how easily it discovers networks and devices on the network (printers, etc.). It's supposed to be dramatically more secure and stable than any Windows Microsoft has ever shipped. I believe it.

But this message doesn't convey these benefits. Nor do the TV spots that talk about clutter. Vista helps cut through clutter, sure, with improved search and other means. But this is not a message that will win over my parents, at whom the TV ads seem to be targeted. "We used to be a business thing, and now we love consumers" might be one way to describe the marketing message(s). As for the Clearification site, I can only guess that I'm the target audience and that they have overestimated my attention span and underestimated my IQ, if only be a few points.

Microsoft: you have developed a cool new product. This is not the way to market it. Maybe it doesn't matter, since the entire known universe has already bought into Windows, but I can't see how these commercials will make people want to upgrade.

You have undersold Vista's value.


2008-01-13 23:00:31
No... *you* are over-selling it... I wasted an entire day trying to help a co-worker get her new HP Vista with touchscreen and other gadgets to see the office printer... NO luck at all with this POS... Another Vista machine could not see that printer either; but it could see the ghostscript/redmon front end I installed on the server.

Another female co-worker, out the the blue, asked me if there was a way to get rid of Vista and install XP... Shocked me because she was new and had never heard me comment on Windows, yet...

A friend's mom gave up and returned her new Vista machine...

These examples have NOTHING to do with how MS sells Vista; but everything to do with the fact that Vista doesn't require selling, an epitaph would be less of a waste of words.

2008-01-14 14:44:36

This has to be one of the lamest posts I've ever seen. Matt Asay works for Eweek, I think, and is a Microsoft whore. What's even more pathetic is his "marketing bitch" whine. If these are the people who make TV commercials, then I'm shooting my TV with a 12-gauge shotgun. Just yesterday, I replaced Windows Vista with Linux. Linux leaves Windows in the dust, and runs about 10-times faster (really).

Carla Schroder
2008-01-15 15:50:12
You can't advertise what you don't have!