There is a lot of of concern that Windows users will be intimidated by the new UI features in Windows 8 and chose not to upgrade. With current ads, like the one above, concentrating on lifestyle, analysts Forrester’s Frank Gillett think that strategy could backfire when consumers are confronted by a more complex interface than they ads depict.
"They’re going to have to do much more to explain it," he said. So far, Microsoft’s "marketing seems to be in denial that they’re moving everyone’s cheese in a dramatic way. Why can’t they say something like "Be patient with us, we’re taking you to a better place’ ? It should have more of that tone."
"I find Microsoft executives remarkably dismissive about this," he continued. When asked during Microsoft’s earnings call Oct. 18 if there is confusion about the "adjustment that users will have to make," Chief Financial Officer Peter Klein said, "Not a lot. I hear the feedback, and as a user we’ve sort of gotten used to it very quickly."
“They don’t want to really talk about it, but I’m not the only one out there saying this looks like it could be a trainwreck if they’re not careful."
But on Microsoft’s corporate blog,CP&B Chief Creative Officer Rob Reilly wrote, "We focused on the experiences that new Windows 8 will give all of us. And we didn’t get too literal. It’s not about landing features and scenarios. It’s about themes like sharing and staying connected, working together and sharing together and expressing yourself."
Rob Enderle of Enderle Group agreed with this approach.
"The marketing requirement is substantially above anything they’ve done before, and I’d argue substantially above anything that Apple’s done," he said. "They’re going to have to get consumers to see the differences as trendy and cool, not something they have to get over."
"You can’t address [the learning curve] in a 30-second TV ad or print ad,” said NPD Group analyst Steve Baker. “The best place to address that is in the store or with online tutorials. And Microsoft is definitely being more aggressive about helping to merchandise products and [having] more presence in stores helping people." He noted the cool ads are what will drive consumers into stores in the first instance.
"The new technology and the new possibilities and the new approach I think outweigh any of the confusion it ultimately brings with it," said Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys. "If you want to do something new, you have to stop doing something old."
What do our readers think? Should ads have an educational element, so consumers will have some familiarity with the OS already when they are confronted with it in the real world, or should Microsoft spend their $1.5 billion on making Windows 8 look cool? Let us know below.