In using concise productivity-oriented marketing terms to market Windows and Windows Phone in recent advertising, Microsoft is finally hitting the right note. This is the firm you can trust when you need to get things done, and its productivity offerings are without parallel.
And while we can all silently ponder how it is that a company with such obvious communications shortcomings has finally gotten it right, there’s no denying that they have. This campaign is a winner.
Before getting to a few specifics, I want to remind readers of an incident from a year ago, when New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo wrote about his advice for picking the correct tech ecosystems. His advice at the time boiled down to this little bit of inanity: “Buy Apple’s hardware. Use Google’s services. Buy media from Amazon. And bet on connectors” (services like Dropbox and Evernote that work cross-platform).
I was incensed at this article, which mentions the word “Microsoft” once only in passing, which I still view as part of the mainstream media’s ongoing crusade to promote Apple and Google at the expense of less trendy companies like Microsoft. Aside from the fact that I think some of his choices are questionable at best, I wrote at the time that Manjoo—who I’ve subsequently met; he’s actually a nice guy—had left out a key part of the equation:
Pick Microsoft for productivity.
So here we are a year later. Microsoft has been moving from catch-phrase (“devices and services”) to catch-phrase (“mobile first, cloud first”) in a bid to be relevant in this changing world. But when the firm started talking up productivity last year, I knew it was on to a winner. And now, finally, Microsoft is starting to advertise this theme. And do so effectively.
Here are a few examples.
Microsoft Lumia 640 & 640 XL: For the Doers. This introductory video for Microsoft’s mostly uninteresting new smart phones carries a great message. “Doers are the ones who get things done,” the ad intones. “The ones who act upon their dreams. Doers do today what the rest of us leave till tomorrow. They don’t wait to be asked. Not when something needs to be done.” And so on. Brilliant. Positive.
Do great things. This one speaks to Microsoft’s history—”we put the personal in personal computing”—and likewise carries a great vibe, discussing the company’s efforts to democratize technology and respect privacy. With Windows 10, the ad says, Microsoft isn’t building a new operating system. It’s building a deeply personal and inspiring experience. Think about that: It’s an ad for Windows, which is not a new operating system. “Windows will always be for people who do,” the ad says. “Because people who do are the ones who move the world forward.”
People Who Do. Filled with vignettes about people actually working, Microsoft explains that Windows is for … these people. This one recalls the diversity themes of the “I’m a PC” ad campaign from years back and is roughly as effective. And it does this without actually having to state that Windows is for doers. Instead it just shows those doers … and they explain why Windows is so important to their work. Smart.