Oh, you devilish marketers at Microsoft. I see the game you play.
You zig when other companies zag. They try to win by making customers feel smarter — but you’re going to win by treating them like idiots. Clever!
Back in May, I put up an article poking fun at what was then the newest Microsoft ad. It featured a rather dim customer whose home is turned into a PC store, exposing her to today’s amazing choices in PCs. Her big discovery: “So there’s no more tower? Wow!”
It was such a shallow spot, I never really imagined it would blossom into a whole campaign. But since then, a number of these things have popped up, each featuring someone you’d never want to be, learning something you don’t need to learn: new PCs are better than old ones.
I’m stirred to action only because this new one seems to be getting a lot of air play of late.
In this ad, we meet Cheryl, apparently the victim of a break-in. A gang has built a PC store in her home without her permission. (Unlike the original spot, there’s no spouse in on the surprise here — it’s just a home invasion.) Cheryl too is a bit on the dim side: “Where’s the tower for this?” she asks. Heh heh. That one never gets old.
Where I come from, agency people get into fights about these things. Some believe it’s important to do a smart ad vs. one that appeals to the lowest common denominator. They believe in building brands vs. going after the low-hanging fruit.
Unfortunately, when you aim for fruit that’s hanging this low, you look pretty silly to customers who are a heck of a lot smarter. Which is probably 98% of them.