Unless you've been living under a rock the past few months, it has been virtually impossible to escape Microsoft's Surface ad campaign. TV, the web, and probably soon, radio and direct mail Surface SPAM will be entering your life. The Redmond software giant is using a massive portion of it's $1.5 billion advertising budget to promote Surface. However, advertising budgets do not equal sales, something that Microsoft does not seem to understand. Surface sales continue to fail even the lowest of expectations.
Microsoft launched the Surface under a campaign known as "The Surface Movement" containing youth oriented Dubstep music, with young and attractive business professionals, all dancing with Surface tablets. This ad campaign failed miserably, so Microsoft is trying a new approach. This week the campaign shifted to an all out attack on Apple's iPad. Two ads have been released so far, but they are attempting to use Apple's ad format in an effort to discredit the iPad as limited and dated when compared to Surface. The main issue with these ads is they approach the viewer as if it were 1990, assuming the public is truly ignorant about what make tablets work.
Microsoft's ads rip iPad with a Siri-like voice, but ironically does Surface have anything remotely close to Siri within Surface RT? No, not even close. Microsoft is keen to point out the iPad does not have PowerPoint, as Microsoft again assumes the buyer is clueless about Apple's superior presentation software: Keynote. The ads are also fatally pointing out backwards technology, such as wired printing as a better approach to printing vs wifi (AirPrint).
The ongoing issue with Microsoft advertising is their campaigns do not target the marketplace, instead they target Microsoft Executives. Advertising agencies such as Waggener Edstrom, IPG or Microsoft's latest agency, Starcom Mediavest, have become masters at pitching back to Microsoft Executives what they want to hear, but it's a smart move from from an agency point of view. Would Microsoft want to hear the truth about what needs to be done, thus putting the agency at risk for future business at Microsoft, or does the agency spoon feed Microsoft what they want to hear, showering executive egos with inside the beltway ad ideas?
Whether it was Microsoft's ill-fated Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates ads, the horrific Zune campaigns (proudly proclaiming brown Zunes as the next big thing) or the latest Surface debacle, Microsoft has set course to continuing to live within its own ideals that it is the market leader, and whatever they choose to say about a topic is what people will simply believe.
Simple. If Microsoft says it, that's the way it is – don't you agree? Fortunately for the world outside of Redmond, WA, the answer is largely no. But Microsoft seems determined to continue living the lie, advertising their arrogance in full, until the only place on left on earth they will be successfully selling their products is within the 10 mile confines of Redmond, WA, which won't bother anyone one bit, especially if Microsoft's collapse leads to the end of these insistently horrific ad campaigns.
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