We have just been aware of the first commercial delivered by Microsoft to promote its Windows Phone 7 smartphone.
When we watched it, the first impression we got was that it could not be a better match for Microsoft’s image. They have taken a lot of money to produce a technically correct ad, and have compressed to many things to try to deliver a simple message.
Typical from Microsoft: Too much complication to express something simple, too many taglines to deliver a theoretical breakthrough.
The message was much simpler: In theory, WP7 will deliver a user experience that will avoid situations like the ones depicted in the commercial.
The communication: Complicated, difficult to understand, and really needs time and many replays to get the message through.
The tagline: As in every Microsoft product, 90% of it is redundant and/or useless, 5% could be useful or valid, and the remaining 5% is to pay for the campaigns that will try to justify the previous two. Take a look to any Apple commercial: Simple, concise, and to the point. See samples here, and here, and here.
Now, having said this, the next thing that pops in our minds is: If WP7 is going to be so different that it will fade away other already proven and well established alternatives, why and how is it going to make that shift in the market happen?
The communication miserably fails to achieve this. It is a matter of faith in them what this add is asking customers to make, just because it is Microsoft.
We have all seen situations like the ones describes in the add. And many of us have even starred them, we must admit. It is not, however, because of the phone itself. It’s not because of its operating system. Curiously enough, the add targets mainly Blackberries for some reason, and we’ll come back to this later. It is the contents what matters, it is about all the things we now can do or access to just by having a smartphone. And from a content perspective, and from a features point of view that Microsoft pathetically challenges the faith they are demanding from their fans, if there are any left. Too late, too featureless for a bride in a wedding, we said a few days ago.
Back to Blackberries… what is Microsoft’s fixation with these guys? No iPhones, no Symbians, no Androids. Just Blackberries. But all of them are really blocking the door to the WP7s. It could be that Steve Ballmer does not want to be like George Bernard Shaw inviting Winston Churchill to one of his grand openings once. Mr. Shaw sent two tickets to sir Winston with a note that said “I am presenting a new play, and I would be very glad to have your attendance. I am sending two tickets so you may come with a friend, should you have any.” To what sir Winton elegantly replied: “I appreciate the honor, but state matter make it impossible for me to attend,. I shall gladly attend a second performance, in case there is any.”
We could imagine Apple, Google or Nokia execs receiving notes from Steve Ballmer with sample units of WP7 and notes saying something like “We would appreciate your feedback and opinion about the new operating system WP7, as this is going to make people forget about their current phones. We send several units in case you would like to request a friend to help you using them, in case you have any.” To what Jobs, Elop and Eric Schmidt could easily reply: “Too busy counting revenue and profits from our smartphone divisions; impossible to care for WP7 right now, but we will gladly review version 2.0 should it ever exist.”