Let’s give credit where credit is due. An ad associated with Microsoft is making people laugh.
Not that this hasn’t happened before. The difference is, this time viewers are laughing with Microsoft — not at it.
It’s remarkable, because for many years Microsoft has been the older guy at the party trying to prove he’s cool or funny. Mostly, it’s turned out awkward (the Gates/Seinfeld buddy series), lame (“I’m a PC”) and/or befuddling (Surface dancing ads).
Given this track record, I’m assuming that the creative spark in this ad originated with Nokia. (Although Nokia hasn’t exactly behaved like a creative powerhouse in the past either.) But the branding here is heavily Microsoft, which has obviously opened its wallet to put the concept of “Windows Phone” front and center.
In this commercial, Microsoft and Nokia do to iPhone and Android what Samsung has so successfully done to Apple. It seizes the moment and makes its competitors look silly. And it does so by taking the silliness to an extreme.
It ridicules the features that have been touted by the smartphone leaders, from Siri to the idea of “bumping” phones to share photos.
A few cheesy gimmicks aside, the production quality is good. I can only imagine how much fun it was to be on the creative team for this one.
The big question is: will this ad have any effect in Microsoft’s quest to carve out a place for the Windows Phone platform?
Well, let’s start with the good news. People will watch it. It is legitimately funny. Who knows what kind of budget is being put behind it, but as Samsung has demonstrated — humor can be a deadly weapon when generously financed.
However, one can’t help feeling that Microsoft and Nokia went with this strategy for one simple reason: it’s one of only strategies left to them. This is what happens when your product comes along several years after the leaders have already divvied up the pie.
In effect, this ad screams “Hey! Over here! We’ve got a phone too!” There’s precious little here to suggest why Lumia might be a better choice than the phones we know so much about. This phone simply wants to be noticed.
But never dismiss the power of creativity. An ad doesn’t have to be deep to be effective.
This particular ad will be watched, and it will be watched repeatedly — because it’s loaded with new details to enjoy with each viewing. It’s entertainment with a message: there’s a new phone in town.
I wouldn’t count on a stampede of Lumia customers rushing into the phone store as a result. But there are a lot of people smiling. And when you’re trying to get noticed, that’s a good start.