Microsoft had a good thing going. They created a pair of videos aimed at diffusing some of the hate towards their Internet Explorer browser by trolling the trolls. They attacked the cliches used against them such “IE is only good for downloading other browsers” by making fun of the haters. In essence, they turned the hate around by acknowledging that they are the butt of many jokes. They de-clawed their detractors and gave ammunition to those who are tired of hearing the geek elite make fun of them for using the grandfather of modern browsers.
The latest ad is a step in the wrong direction. They attempt, as Jared Newman at PC World puts it, to “tugs at heartstrings of Gen-Y users”. It was a clever attempt, but it’s not the right message in a world that loves the cutting edge.
Here’s the video:
People don’t want to move backwards with their technology (other than hipsters, but that’s another topic). They don’t want to reminisce their way through their computing experience. They want new, fresh, powerful, and responsive. The ad does not communicate this. They simply latch onto the past but give no message of the present or the future. It had the potential to be a strong ad if they had transitioned to talking about the things that have changed. Their browser is, by most accounts, one of the best ones out there today, but they don’t communicate that at all in the video. Unfortunately for the message, our society is not one that will do the research without prompting and at no point does the video ask people to check out the way that IE has improved.
It just tugs at heartstrings that are not attached to the keyboard in any way. The message was wasted.
Here are the other two videos mentioned. In them, you’ll see the difference. These are effective and would have been the perfect setup videos for a “check out how far we’ve come” video rather than the “you’re getting older and we’re still around” video that they created.