Sunday, January 03, 2010

This blog post was MY idea

Here’s something you’re not likely to hear at your next party: “I’m an advertising professional and the new ad campaign for Windows 7 was my idea. You know, the commercials where a pc user brags about how he thought of a fairly obvious computer function, and e-mailed Microsoft about it, and voila! It showed up in Windows 7? Brilliant, don’tcha think?”

The reason you won’t hear this (other than the statistical unlikelihood of those particular ad execs showing up at your party) is that pretty soon people will realize how faulty this premise is, and it will not be something its creators will brag about, or even admit to once the checks are cashed. (Of course, the MONEY may be something they're willing to open up about).

The main problem is that this approach assumes that either:

1) ...the folks at Microsoft are too dense to have come up with these ideas themselves, and rely on the suggestions of customers to improve the product…with no compensation or real recognition for them, by the way,


2) ...pc users are so egotistical, deluded, and/or stupid they assume that when a new product feature shows up in a product made by a huge corporation, it’s because they sent an e-mail to suggest it, and NOT because of the expensive ongoing process of research and development that any competitive company conducts.

Yep, this is a great campaign…if you work for Mac. Or if you have Al Gore as a celebrity spokesperson.

Really puzzling that this made it through the meeting(s). OK, OK, I know, the message is supposed to be "our customers are smart" and "we listen to our customers' suggestions." But at version 7, this begs the questions "Did you think we were idiots up until now?" and "What have you guys BEEN doing with our suggestions all this time?"

I think when it comes to consumer technology, customers expect a company to be led by geniuses who are in touch with their needs, so that new & brilliant features are implemented even before the customer knows it's possible, much less desirable. This is how Mac is perceived...and I'm saying this as someone who actually prefers pc's for the most part. This campaign will not help overcome the "cool" factor of the Mac.

Making your customers and your client look like idiots, and thereby supporting the smug, superior assertions of the competition in THEIR advertising…well, let’s just say this is an unconventional approach to getting more business for your agency. Just make sure your receptionist has some busywork to do to kill time when the phones go silent.

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