Are the Really ads a marketing miss?



Parents will know there is nothing more boring for adults than a children’s playground. A Microsoft smartphone should be touting its ability to rescue us from this.

With reports of poor initial sales for Windows phone 7 continuing to roll in, questions do have to be asked about Microsoft’s marketing of the OS.

There is no doubt the company has been spending a lot of money on promoting the OS, and its Really campaign appears to be close to entering the vernacular of regular users, much like Budweiser’s “Whazzup!” did many years ago or Apple’s “App for that” more recently.

The question however is if this message resonates with buyers looking to get a smartphone.  Do current or prospective smartphone users really wish to be saved from their devices, or are they in fact looking for an even more engaging experience.

I suspect it is in fact the later – that people buy smartphones less as tools to make their life easier (a business-like approach) but rather as escapist tools to entertain and enrich otherwise mundane everyday lives. This is clearly what most consumer entertainment products are all about, and where Microsoft missed a trick.

While Microsoft touted the Windows Phone 7 user interface as revolutionary, it is in fact merely an evolution of a paradigm they have been working on for more than 10 years – glancible information.  We saw this in the old Windows Mobile Today screen, in the desktop  Sidebar widgets, Spot watches and Sideshow devices.  None of these technologies have seen amazing success, which should suggest to Microsoft that this is not exactly what consumers want.

Microsoft’s most successful consumer product is usually named as the Xbox 360, which of course spends all its effort trying to suck you into the experience, not trying to get you to “get in, get out and get on with your life." In fact the slogan has for a long time been “Jump in”, quite the opposite philosophy.

Another successful product, Windows 7, was designed to produce as little distraction as possible, allowing the user to remain engaged in their task.  Vista was slated for producing too many pop-ups which did the opposite.

I suspect the problem is that Windows Phone 7, Windows Mobile and the other “glancible” products before this was designed by very busy people, working 18 hour days, who set a very high premium on spending their time very efficiently.  This is not the consumer reality, where in fact leisure time has increased over the years, and people wish to have their time increasingly occupied with fun, not work.

I believe Microsoft needs to refocus their marketing strategy away from the Really campaign to showing exactly how Windows Phone 7 is an attractive product for consumers, and a source of entertainment,  which is in fact how consumers measure the value of a product these days.

Windows Phone 7 has the ingredients for this, in the form of Zune, Xbox Live games and a good internet browser. These are the areas Microsoft needs to press home, not the tile user interface.

Do our readers agree? Let us know below.

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