Oct 10

Microsoft suffers relapse of silliness

I have to admit, Microsoft’s latest marketing ploy has legs. Lots of ’em.

Unfortunately, they’re the kind of legs that leave you more aghast than enticed.

On the Windows Phone home page, your favorite app icons have been transformed into mini-Rockettes to demonstrate “your Windows stuff can go where you go.”

Like the alcoholic who can’t seem to stay on the wagon, Microsoft again succumbs to that irresistible urge to be silly. These repeated lapses indicate a belief that you need a “shtick” to win over an audience. Not exactly the most sophisticated take on advertising.

Only Microsoft would feel it necessary to jazz up Office with Clippy

It’s hard to say where this nonsense started, but it comes and goes throughout Microsoft’s history. Office’s Clippy character was one widely-maligned embarrassment. Another was the childish mini-Mac character who served time as the help icon in Word for Macintosh. Then came those wacky dinosaur-headed office workers. And in real life, the more recent smartphone funeral parade.

With a trail of embarrassments spanning many years and multiple agencies, one can only conclude it’s something in the water at Microsoft.

Steve Jobs once famously said: “The problem with Microsoft is, they just have no taste … I don’t mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way.” We can safely say there’s little doubt of that anymore.

Though Steve was talking about products, taste is every bit as important in marketing. You can’t produce efforts like Microsoft’s unless good taste is muzzled or nonexistent.

Another laugh riot from the marketing minds of Microsoft

Clearly Steve Ballmer doesn’t have a passion for, or understanding of, great marketing. That’s okay. There are plenty of CEOs in the same boat, and there’s a simple solution for his problem. He must (a) accept what he lacks personally, (b) hire somebody who’s got it, and (c) give him/her full authority to make decisions. It’s the authority part that’s usually the deal-killer.

Microsoft has enough problems trying to catch up to a revolution that left them in the dust three years ago. The last thing they need right now is a marketing group with a special talent for shooting itself in the foot.

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  • Liebman

    I recall that Mac version of Office had a little assistant with a computer monitor head, that would pop up and ask annoying questions. I’ve searched Google high and low but can’t find any images. I wonder if MS put him into the Stupid Idea Protection Program and wiped out all traces of his existence? If anyone has an image, please post.