Kirk Evans Blog

.NET From a Markup Perspective

Free The People… F Apple.

Could it really, really be?

“We’ve got a pretty noisy competitor out there,” Brooks said of Apple whose “I’m a Mac… and I’m a PC,” commercials criticize Windows Vista. “You know it. I know it. It’s caused some impact. We’re going to start countering it. They tell us it’s the iWay or the highway. We think that’s a sad message. Software out there is made to be compatible with your whole life.”

– Brad Brooks, Microsoft’s VP of Windows Vista consumer marketing

[via InformationWeek]

Really?  Could it be that our marketing folks are finally going to commit to being a part of Microsoft?  Could it be that our marketing folks are finally ready to proactively market to our customers, show them what a digital lifestyle looks like and what Microsoft can really do?

I am so completely and utterly sick, as an employee and a Microsoft shareholder, of seeing empty spending on crap like “People_Ready”.  Remember the completely ridiculous Office Dinosaur spots?  C’mon, marketing, grow a pair… let’s see some results.  No, I don’t want to see a retort ad making fun of the “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” goons.  That ship has long since sailed.  Let’s see what all that Microsoft money and some of the smartest people in the world can come up with.

Here are some things to brush the dust off the ol’ marketing degrees.  Get Fake Steve Jobs in regular primetime spots making Jobs look like a maniac.  Make Sergey and Larry look like bumbling idiots trying to copy everything you invented first.  Make fun of iLife.  Show a college kid with an iPhone cussing because he can’t read a Word document, and then another college kid telling him to send it to his Windows Mobile and he’ll show it to him.  Get Jessica Alba in some Windows commercials wearing something really skimpy, make the censors squirm… do something that my grandfather would never have proposed in a business setting.  Get rough, get baudy, get raunchy… get the message out there in marketing that is quotable and memorable.  Heck, even if it’s just raunchy and memorable, get the Doritos girl and the GoDaddy girl wrestling in a water fountain.

If I haven’t been clear, let me make it even clearer.  “HEY, MARKETING!!!  STEP UP!!!!”.

My MOTHER asked me why Apple computers never get viruses.  She knows I am a diehard Microsoft fan, and she certainly knows I work for Microsoft.  Yet even with me telling her that Apple is not immune or impenetrable, she still believes what she hears in commercials.  Oh yeah, to show how qualified she is, she also THREW AWAY a computer (yep, in the trash) because it got a virus. 

The problem is that Microsoft has been the schoolyard pansy for way too long.  The Slashdot freetards essentially defined Microsoft’s persona.  That persona was then taken to the mass consumer audience in clever commercial spots.  Figure it out, take it back to the masses.  Step up.

Here’s a shocking thought… advertise in cheap late-night commercial spots that you can buy the Office suite for $6 per month installable on up to 3 computers.  I’m talking during the same spots that the local used car dealers advertise in, during late-night Cops and Law&Order reruns.  Try actually advertising to people with little or no money that they can create free websites on Office Live (yep… go after Oprah commercial time), right after the commercials for ambulance-chasing lawyers and study-at-home professional schools.  Try advertising how cool Windows Vista is during a primetime show. 

Here’s an absolute shocker… instead of sponsoring “American Idol” through Ford and Microsoft Sync (and almost completely losing brand identity to Ford’s overshadowing), why don’t we invest in a top show like Survivor or one of the CSI variants?  Quit getting jazzed because Virtual Earth or Windows Mobile shows on one single episode, make it an integral part of the show.  Ya know, marketing.  I realize we sponsored Rock Star: Supernova… now, let’s try sponsoring a real show that airs regularly with high ratings for a change.

Here’s an absolute braniac idea… let’s do something about calling “searching the web” something like “websearch” or “search”, instead of calling it “Googling.”  Let’s do something about the “personal media player” instead of calling it a fracking iPod.  That’s not going to happen overnight, you need to start working on kids shows.  I can’t believe that we don’t already see Zune and Windows permeate through Disney Channel shows.

Remember the Kenny Rogers song, “Coward of the County?”  Lord, I hope it ends the same, where Microsoft finally decides to stand up for itself.