MS ad campaign change already? Can’t be true?
September 18, 2008
PleaseDon’tBeTrue.PleaseDon’tBeTrue.PleaseDon’tBeTrue. I write about MS, their marketing strategy and product suites because I’m in the illuminati-like MWG and I feel compelled to point out missteps and how they continue to show that MS’ predicable roller coaster ride of success keeps inching towards the peak. And if they don’t realistically come to grips with the competitive landscape, they will find themselves on the wrong side of their climb up to 95% market share, quickly falling back to earth or worse.
Take Mark Shields’ BTTF DeLorean to the early 1980’s and ask the American Automotive Big Three if they were afraid of imports eating into their combined armbar on U.S. sales. Now look at the sad state of those companies. A lack of continued innovation, drive and passion will not immediately hurt a market leader due to inertia and momentum (customer loyalty). But once it does, that same inertia will be just as tough to win back consumers.
When I read this story at Gizmodo (update: and now NY Times ), I’ll just hope it’s speculative and inaccurate (for MS’ sake). The only move worse that an over-hyped and well-publicized ad campaign using a founder that recently left the company and an 80’s comedian is to stop the over-hyped and well-publicized ad campaign before it hits its stride. Wait, there is one worse thing: To stop an over-hyped and well-publicized ad campaign in order to directly address your minority share competitor using their own commercial parody style that is innately tied to their brand. To copy Apple in their code is one thing, to resort to copying their commercials is another.
If true, every person who watches these supposed commercials will immediately also be reminded of Apple and how they currently own this style of simple, stripped down testimonials. And how it works because of Apple’s simple, stripped down approach to products. Why doesn’t MS just give 50 cents of every advertising dollar to Apple? Why not throw the Apple logo on each ad? Again, Microsoft is forced to acknowledge that Apple’s current brand, strategy and trajectory is much stronger that any market share numbers would relay.
If that weren’t enough today, Gizmodo also posted this story. Instead of a sensible Vista SP1 or SP2, they continue to cut ties with the Vista brand already and are branching quickly to a currently named “Windows 7” which has yet to show much more than multi-touch and a more ubiquitous ribbon interface. Also disappointing for them if true. If consumers thought that Vista was not sufficiently improved from XP to merit a new product name or purchase price point, a shortened life cycle and lack of compelling features in Windows 7 won’t help matters. I hope for their sake that Microsoft must have some surprises in store.
 It’s a pretty interesting time to think about Linux/BSD customer/user/community loyalty. Although we at KDE promote freedom/choice/open standards/open protocols heavily, it’s also a general segment belief. However, due to being in the early adopter and enthusiast stage as with many segments, these users can be more fiercely loyal to their choices than their majority share counterparts.
 From the NY Times article:
The theme of “Life without walls” was the concept for the Microsoft campaign “from the beginning,” he added, because it declares “that the goal of Windows is to help remove the walls in your life, now and in the future.”
Perfect analogy. Because without walls, you can’t have windows. Thank you for writing our slogans for us. WTF are these people thinking?