Microsoft’s Greatest Weakness: Advertisements

Microsoft is best know in the software space throughout the world. Sure Microsoft has dipped it’s toes in the hardware lake before with the Xbox and the Arch Touch Mouse but neither of those are as significant as the Surface. Unlike the Xbox, Surface can greatly impact how other hardware manufacturers make their products and improve them. Surface is the instrument that will carry Windows 8 to its maximum potential and into the hands of consumers across the country.

Why is this so important when Xbox is sold all over the world you ask? Well the fact that Surface is carrying Windows 8, Microsoft’s most important product, on its shoulders should impact the company greatly. Even if Surface fails it would still not matter because even if it does, Windows 8 will be on other devices like HP Ultrabooks and Toshiba computers. Still, if Microsoft is really serious about the success of the Surface they will have to radically change the way they do one thing in the company: Advertisements.

In order for Surface to gain any significant traction and mind share, the advertisements should be at their best.

The way a product is presented on a TV can really change one’s mind when buying a product. Just take a look at the “Droid” commercials. Those ads were so effective that people actually thought Droid was the operating system, causing Android to fall behind in the shadows of the Droid hardware. Good job Motorola. Microsoft for the most part, has failed greatly in advertising for Windows Phones. The “Really” ad campaign that originally launched with the Windows Phone highlighted this weakness. It was such a pain to view that most of the ad was just concentrated on a lame joke. Windows Phones were only shown for a small fraction of the TV spot causing obscurity and a mixed messages. Even now that it has the support of Nokia and AT&T, they are doing it all wrong.

Just take a look at the Beta Test ad by Nokia. Many questions come up in this ad and Microsoft should always follow three rules. One of them is don’t insult your potential customer. Why is the actor on screen insulting me by saying that I am a part of a beta test. Seriously, even if it is a joke no one wants to hear that they made a bad purchase decision. The other question that comes up to mind is what are you trying to sell? The actor proclaiming that the world is a part of the beta test has more screen time than the phone, why? The product should always have more screen time than the actors and if you are going to get a famous actor at least get someone who is relevant to this generation. The third rule is make your product look cool and get a message across. No one wants a product that is dull, lame, or a rip off of another product. Show off what Makes the Windows Phone different and why anyone would want it.

You could also argue that Nokia does not have to demonstrate the Windows Phone OS, but that is not the case. Both Nokia and Microsoft are now on the same boat. The only way they will be successful is if they both help each other row the boat.

Microsoft has only now realized how terrible their ads are and has let go of a large group of employees who dealt with advertisements. Hopefully they will learn from their mistakes and make modern advertisements. They just need to remember to show the product, be cool, and get a message across to the consumers. Will they be able to deliver? Maybe, but rebooting brands like Windows will be a lot harder than introducing Surface to consumers.

And to demonstrate that not everything coming from Microsoft Advertisement agency’s is not completely worthless, here are a few ads that Microsoft got right.

Nokia (Never aired in the US)

Zune (Never aired on television)

Xbox

Surface(Not aired on television)

Apple has these ads down.