For months I’ve been saying that marketing, more than technology, would define (or fail to) Windows Phone 7’s launch. … From putting the “P” in personal to smart messaging to simply brilliant advertising, Microsoft has pulled back the curtains on Windows Phone 7 in oh-so right fashion.
…”There must be aggressive aspirational marketing that is at least as good as recent Bing, Internet Explorer and Windows 7 advertising…Microsoft made the right, positive impressions when rebranding Windows Live Search to Bing — thanks to supporting marketing. Windows Mobile is dead. Long live Windows Phone. It’s a new brand that buyers must rightly meet.”
But what really rings — for the visceral appeal and because more people will experience it than the launch marketing material — is the TV advertising. The first commercial embedded above, “Really?”, overdramatizes people obsessed with their cell phones, instead of the real world going on around them. Marketing tagline: “It’s time for a phone to save us from our phones.” Oh yeah?
Microsoft’s marketing isn’t just messaging, there’s a worldview behind it: Your phone isn’t your life. In my post earlier today, I wrote: “Ballmer succinctly stated that Windows Phone 7 is designed so that people can ‘get in, out and back to life.’
So let’s make sure we have this right: there are any number of phones out there that are Just Phones. A smart phone is a different beast, more a computer in a phone costume than the other way around. And Microsoft is clearly not making a phone that is Just a Phone; it’s making a smart phone. And its pitch line for this is that you’ll use it less?
There is only one way this ad campaign makes sense, and that’s if Microsoft has hit an out-of-the-park home run with Windows Phone 7. If it’s so revolutionary that users can get the same things done in dramatically less time, more easily than anything that has come before, then this ad campaign makes sense. Otherwise it’s an argument against their own product and the Kin will soon have company.
Not really — Microsoft doesn’t have another option beyond this, and they’re not known for withdrawing from the battlefield. Once Microsoft has committed to a course of action, they stick with it until they get it right. Back in the day that was Windows before Windows 95. Today I wonder if they have the same will to win, the same sense of destiny that must have kept them going when the only answer they had to the MacOS was Windows 2 (dark days indeed).
I don’t think they need to go to the extremes that Droid is, advertising that their products are the beta version of the Borg, but they should at least claim that you’ll enjoy using their products.
Joe Wilcox (the author) goes on to talk about Millennials, as if they’re the only ones obsessed with their smart phones, and says that the ad campaign tailored to them (obviously not this one) is likely coming later. First, that’s not a given, second, they’re not the only ones who would rather give up their shoes than their phone, and third, these ads set the tone. Having said that phones are a nuisance, Microsoft won’t be able to claim later, “Ha, we were just kidding, it’s really a great heavy-duty phone.” The Millennials (and the rest of us who only vaguely remember how we got by with ordinary phones) won’t be paying attention.