Earlier this year, Microsoft’s “laptop hunters” campaign showed Americans that they could buy a PC for nearly half the price of an Apple. According to adage(http://adage.com/abstract.php?article_id=136731), the Mac vs PC campaign was a huge success in moving the needle on value perception (I agree). Unfortunately, as many found out the hard way, the product struggled to back it up.
Now, the next installment of Microsoft operating system, Windows 7, is driving a communication strategy that seems earily similar to the first Vista campaigns, but with a social facelift.
With massive advertising support, Microsoft is spreading the message that this “socially-inspired” version of Windows was created from countless requests and pleas from its customers. If you are like me, then you get a little curious about the connotation of “countless requests and pleas from customers.”
Another thing I am curious about is why Microsoft would waste precious, valuable seconds (in a 30 second spot) to promote a point of parity in computing – “this version was meant to make our lives easier.” Aren’t all operating systems created to make computing just a little bit easier, faster, simpler etc? Wasn’t that the entire value proposition of Windows Vista?
View the ad here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnXVPwLLXHM
The reason this strategy is not as compelling as it could be to me is because while Microsoft is touting its ability to listen to customers and hear their pain, it is also implicitely screaming that for the last 2 or 3 years it wasn’t listening at all. The message, “we were broken, but now we are fixed” is suspect. The consumer doesn’t care that you are all better now. The consumer simply wants to know that they are not risking disappointment, frustration and pain by investing in your product.
This is not a knock on the agencies that are running the account ( Crispin Porter & Bogusky/Universal McCann), but it is a call out to Microsoft to get its swagger back. You revolutionized computing, so why are you playing defend/attack/defend/attack. My favorite quote: “If you can’t win the game, change the rules.”