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connecting and kinecting October 20, 2011

Posted by nicholas gill in advertising, brand experience, integration, microsoft.
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When CP+B picked up the Microsoft advertising account, we all wondered what would happen. The “I’m a PC” ads weren’t as bad as the original haters suggested. The product elements and the use of interesting characters started to change perceptions of Microsoft. I quite liked them but I didn’t identify with being a PC still. And then just as some momentum was happening, the Launch Party “thing” happened. Finding the video now, the comments have been disabled on the version I am linking to. Unsurprising given it was truly horrific. I also thought the “Windows 7 was my idea” campaign was an interesting concept but felt hollow in execution. There’s been some advertising for the Windows Phone but in a market that is dominated by Apple, HTC and Samsung in the kudos and media space, it’s not really stood out. And then there’s X-Box. The golden child. And it’s shinier child, Kinect. Which aped the successful Wii advertising but without a controller. X-Box is a great product and the Kinect addition has made it even better.

But it’s never been leveraged as part of a wider brand and product effort. The reason I, and countless others, buy into Apple is that their stuff together just works. iTunes, iPhone, iPad, iMac, AppleTV and so on. Seamless, easy, great. The best brand experience by far. You can even take this into the retail environment.

You don’t get the same feeling from Microsoft. It feels disparate and hard. My own experience of Apple’s “plug it in and it will work” is in stark contrast to “plug it in and load the accompanying CD, load up the drivers, reboot, etc.” of Microsoft. Now I know this perception is now several years old but it’s stuck. And that’s why we are an Apple household.

But this new ad challenges people like me. And it makes use of the integrated Microsoft brand experience which has never been done before. I like it. It shows Microsoft in a new, family setting than rather the individuals it has targeted before. It has humour. It’s not trying to copy Apple or Nintendo either. It also looks easy, creative and fun to have Microsoft products in your home. It’s a shame then that the good work of the commercial is let down by a bland website that does nothing to re-enforce the message of connectivity and togetherness by immediately splitting the products again. Perhaps CP+B can get their hands on the digital side of things too?

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