How Microsoft should do a Vista ad campaign “right”

I noticed the latest Vista ad campaign thing, called the Mojave Experiment. In a way, it’s pretty interesting. The whole point of the experiment, in my opinion, is "Don’t let preconceived perceptions from the media/MS-haters/IT/people-with-bad-configurations/companies-who-don’t-update-drivers stop you from at least TRYING out Windows Vista. Give it a try, before you say "it sucks" and you just might like it."


That’s what I thought when I looked at the site anyway. On the site, there’s a mosaic of 55 videos where it shows people’s reactions when they discover that the OS they’re testing on an HP laptop (they were told it was a so-called new version of Windows : Mojave), is really none other than Windows Vista. Of course, all the videos show a positive reaction, when they discover it’s actually Windows Vista, and it doesn’t seem at all bad as what they’ve heard. Each person had 10 minutes to toy around with the computer, with 2 employees who were shooting questions. 


This type of campaign, is just meant to say that you should try it, before you can claim it sucks. Does it work?

Some people claim this is an example of good advertising coming from Microsoft. These people said that whenever they hear somebody say Vista sucks, they ask why, and that person can’t give a simple good reason as to how. That people are just doing what they think is trendy, and hating Microsoft. Or being brainwashed from the Apple-loving media, and crazy fanboys on the internet. These people have ran Vista very well, or at least think it’s not as bad as it’s said to be, and don’t have any problems as Vista has matured, especially SP1.

There are skeptics of course. Some people think that Microsoft paid these guys to say this. That it seems strange how people don’t even know the basic look of the Vista UI from a distance. And that a 10 minute demo, isn’t the same as using Vista on your own for several weeks. Most of what the people say in the videos is just that it "looks" cool, and works pretty nicely as far as they can tell. Their reactions when they discovered it was really Vista, didn’t seem promising since it was rather passive or of feigned interest.

Overall though, I think it’s a good ploy at marketing. Definitely better than the "Wow" campaign. I hope most people get that this ISN’T saying Windows Vista is better, or the best, or the greatest. Or that they didn’t make mistakes with Vista. The whole point is to not let preconceived perceptions get in the way of actually trying it out for yourself. Decide if Vista is right for you, and let other people say it isn’t.

But this can’t be it though. There obviously has to be more than that. The Mojave Experiment is probably just a start to a whole new series of ad campaigns for Vista. I would think that, because there’s this red marker indicating this :

Not just an experiment, but other different types of campaigns too. I’ve came up with some of my own ideas on how to do Vista marketing right, if Microsoft had to. I’m still not sure if Microsoft should rather be focusing all their resources on making Windows 7 their really best top-notch OS ever, or spending advertising money for an OS that’s already had a big bad reputation all over the world. But if I just had to do a Vista campaign of some kind, here would be some of my ideas :

1. Reasons to Love Vista – Microsoft could make a weekly video, showing specific reasons which make Vista better XP or even Leopard. One of the most common ignorant things I hear people claim about Vista is, "There’s no reason to upgrade from XP". Hmm. Maybe or maybe not. I could say the same for jumping from Tiger to Leopard, as there isn’t that many good reasons there either. But there actually ARE really great features in Vista, that people might actually want Vista for. Such as real good desktop search, full system-wide speech recognition, handwriting tool & virtual keyboard for touchscreens, bigger security measures, DirectX 10, etc. So Microsoft should make a nice quick weekly video ad(or 3 good videos a month) highlighting specific new features in Windows Vista and show how great they are what you can do with them. Air them on TV, make another neat site similar to the Mojave Experiement to display them, and do video podcasts. The video shouldn’t have to be longer than 5 minutes to explain a feature, have a good-looking person with a good clear voice that shows confidence in how these features are wonderful, smoothness in the way the content and captions come up, and a quick easy link to remember if you want to look it up on the Windows site. As long as it looks good and feels good, then it practically is good to people who watch the videos. A lot of times, perception > reality. Make it so that they’re equal in a positive light. Also, please don’t pull any of those bubbly feel-good experience marketing buzzwords in the ads. Like "feeling connected" or "feel better". Also the shots of people staring at a computer screen with big smiles on their face, doesn’t prove a thing. Just keep to the facts, and show how Vista is good.

2. Actual product placement in TV shows, movies, and books – "Is that a Mac?" I wonder, every time I see a whitish computer in a movie, and even TV shows. Chances are, it usually is. Apple has done a great job with paying off producers and companies to toss a Mac into a movie/show, and making it look ubiquitous and trendy for young people. A lot of times, I even recall seeing the actual OS being used. Heck, I even remember a few teen books that specifically refer to an iMac once of twice or more in context. Not so much on hearing other computer brands being used. Product placement is the way to go. The more your product seems to be in use, or picture in the media, the more people feel swayed to use it. Again, perception is very important to maintain. Getting a character or actor to actually use Vista, in a way that it might compliment a specific feature (or features) in Vista in a subtle way shows how natural it could be.

3. Mac Attack or OS suX– I’m thinking of this as a direct response to the "Get a Mac" ads. Personally, I don’t like the style of the "Get a Mac" ads. You know, where you belittle your big competitor, make cheap shots, overexaggerate on some issues, stereotype users, and not even show exactly how your product stands to be better. But if they somehow have such a good grasp on people, then it’s time to fight fire with fire. Bring in a guy that’s good-looking, smooth-talking, and seem like a whiz at a lot of things. This guy is the face of Windows; Windows guy Make him show the plus side of PC’s, like the choice from many hardware vendors, the fact that Windows could practically do anything OS X can, but OS X can’t do everything Windows can, games, bazillion of options, and that OS X can have issues too. Show the failures of Macs in their past designs, the way the worked, and make fun of Mac users as people who are interested in shiny things, so stupid they have to use a Mac, and all those other negative stereotypes casted on Mac users before. But of course, make Windows guy a modest person. Without too much ridicule and rudeness. Windows guy has made mistakes before as well, and Microsoft understands that. Make him a lovable character. Instead of a white space like the Get a Mac ads, do a wet floor black space. As long as it’s honest, true, and funny, you’ll have a wonderful comeback.

Or better yet, just don’t make any ad campaigns for Vista (or Vista’s reputation to be exact). Vista’s reputation has already sunk very low, even though some people now (after SP1 worked wonders for many) claim Vista is good if you have a decent computer with 2GB. But the damage has been done. Any advertising would probably draw criticism, and make people think Microsoft is trying to trick them into using that OS.

That advertising could be spent better on other consumer products, or just go into making the next Windows an outstanding OS. It’s best to move on towards the future. Most likely anyway, Vista will get sold along with practically most computers. If these advertisements are meant to fix the reputation, I’d just say forget it.

Just my opinion.


One thought on “How Microsoft should do a Vista ad campaign “right”

  1. It\’s funny that in one of the commercials, PC guy actually mentions that he knows C++ or something like that, while the Mac guy can only make home videos on iMovie. In the end, people are supposed to like being someone who isn\’t tech savvy instead.

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