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Microsoft airs first Surface ad as part of $1B Windows 8 marketing campaign

post #1 of 144
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Microsoft on Monday will kick off an advertising blitz for its Surface tablet, the software company's first-ever foray into the computer hardware making business, with a commercial set to air during ESPN's Monday Night Football.

Surface Ad
Source: Microsoft


First spotted by The Verge, the commercial is part of Microsoft's huge $1 billion Windows 8 ad campaign, which began in earnest on Sunday ahead of the new operating system's launch on Oct. 26.

With the first Surface spot, Microsoft focused on the "clicking" noise made when a user attaches the tablet's magnetic keyboard-cum-cover, as well as the soft snapping sound heard when the unit's kickstand is opened and closed. The commercial is more of an introduction to the device than a spec-heavy listing of features, perhaps meant as a first step to acclimate consumers to the idea that Microsoft is now entering the hardware market.

Taking more than a little inspiration from successful iPod commercials, the ad features a troupe of dancers who manipulate the device to create a drum break-like beat that slowly builds to a crescendo of feverish clicking and snapping.

Not much is shown off in the way of device specs, or even the ARM-based Windows RT version of Microsoft's new operating system powering the Surface. There are a few glimpses of the homescreen and a few live tiles, but the commercial is mostly a teaser.



Earlier in October, Microsoft started a guerrilla marketing campaign close to a Chicago area Apple Store, drawing "graffiti style" Surface representations on the brick wall of a nearby car washing establishment.

Along with the new Surface commercial, Microsoft also announced the Xbox Music service, a direct competitor to Apple's iTunes that will be available on Windows 8 PCs, Windows Phone 8 and the Xbox 360.

The Redmond, Washington, company is scheduled to launch Windows 8 alongside alongside the ARM-powered version of its Surface tablet on Oct. 26.
post #2 of 144

Look! Microsoft is making a tablet... and doing music!  Has anyone seen this done before? 1eek.gif

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post #3 of 144

post #4 of 144

That is simply awful. 

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post #5 of 144

It has a keyboard cum cover?!

 

I ain't touching it without latex gloves.

post #6 of 144
Quote:
Microsoft on Monday will kick off an advertising blitz for its Surface tablet, the software company's first-ever foray into the hardware making business, with a commercial set to air during ESPN's Monday Night Football.

First ever foray??

The author of this article needs to do some research I'd say.
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post #7 of 144
I don't think it's a good ad. It's fine to have an ad that doesn't show how the device can useful after you'v established product and market. Exhibit 1: The iconic silhouette iPod ads.

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post #8 of 144

It's like High School Musical.

 

… But worse.

 

"It's hard to believe

That I couldn't see

How good this tablet was beside me!

This touchscreen's like no other

I want you to know!
I've never had someone

Who let me touch you… the way you do!"

 

Er, that got a little… 

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post #9 of 144
That hipster dude needs to wash his hair, and those schoolgirls were downright creepy!
post #10 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Napoleon_PhoneApart View Post

It has a keyboard cum cover?!

 

I ain't touching it without latex gloves.

 

The keyboard is ready for one-handed web browsing sessions.

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post #11 of 144
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Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

First ever foray??
The author of this article needs to do some research I'd say.

Yep. Mice since Windows 1.0, I think. Then there's UltimateTV. They did network cards and keyboards. Zune. Plus that obscure XBox that nobody ever heard of and nobody ever played.
post #12 of 144
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Originally Posted by mstone View Post

That is simply awful. 

 

This ad reveals Microsoft deepest, darkest, tablet insecurities.

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post #13 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I don't think it's a good ad. It's fine to have an ad that doesn't show how the device can useful after you'v established product and market. Exhibit 1: The iconic silhouette iPod ads.

In principle I agree with you.  However, MS needs to get people to notice that they are entering this market.  

 

Everybody knows Apple owns the market and there are several players scraping sales at the margins.  I don't think it is unreasonable to try to attach your product to some pizzazz _before_ it gets compared to the standard.  If they start out by trying to make it look useful, they are probably already lost (because if people want useful, they may as well get an iPad).  

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post #14 of 144
Having all those Surfaces flying around is good for when you sit down to watch some content and then need another Surface because the one you were using crashed.

It's like a laptop, but you can't use it on your lap, only on a flat surface!
post #15 of 144

MS in 2011: ”We won’t do anything in the tablet market unless we can be distinctive,”

post #16 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

In principle I agree with you.  However, MS needs to get people to notice that they are entering this market.  

Everybody knows Apple owns the market and there are several players scraping sales at the margins.  I don't think it is unreasonable to try to attach your product to some pizzazz _before_ it gets compared to the standard.  If they start out by trying to make it look useful, they are probably already lost (because if people want useful, they may as well get an iPad).  

If the Surface becomes a success and gains a respectable hold on the tablet market in a way WinPh has yet to capture then you'll have a guaranteed mea culpa from me. Outside of that I'd say it's debatable. I think you make a solid counter-argument but I still think MS should have come out with solid "this is how you use this device" ads, not this empty razzmatazz*.



* That word doesn't get used enough.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #17 of 144
Haha, awesome commercial. Still remains to see if it's a useful device. I'll never change, I don't even use my iPad that much. MacBook Pro ftw! ^^
post #18 of 144
And the question remains.

How much?
post #19 of 144

I read the first 13 comments before watching the ad. 

 

And it's not nearly as bad as I expected. I thought there'd be singing after the High School Musical reference, but it's just a reasonably catchy instrumental.

 

It's a memorable ad, and it serves to demonstrate the two key physical differentiating factors from the iPad just fine. Software can come later, and probably won't be nearly as much of a selling point.

 

If the screen really shows up that well in bright sunlight, I'm impressed. But I suspect they juiced the screen images in post. 

 

Edit: Also, if those schoolgirls were creepy, you may be creepy. They were hardly salaciously filmed. 

post #20 of 144
I think the commercial is arresting. But I don't think MS has a cool image, and I think they're too late to the dance.
post #21 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Napoleon_PhoneApart View Post

It has a keyboard cum cover?!

 

I ain't touching it without latex gloves.

Laughed at the exact same thing when I read it in the article.

 

 

And I know its fun to make fun of MS- but that keyboard cover is really cool.  I look forward to trying one- great concept, but I'll expect poor execution.  Hopefully I'm pleasantly surprised.

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post #22 of 144
I gotta tell you, I just downloaded the latest MSN app update and they've adopted the whole Windows 8 colored blocks scheme ... It's an absolute bloody nightmare. Seriously it's distracting to the point where I don't know what I'm reading, or where to look. Apple has made some UI changes that I haven't appreciated, but I gotta hand it to Em, they KNOW how to design a useable UI.

Who wants to take bets MS will change this whole colored blocks thing within a year of launch? And it will look like OS X?
post #23 of 144

In 1980, Microsoft made a card that plugged into an Apple II computer. The card was called the Softcard and contained a Z80 processor chip which allowed the Apple II to run the CP/M operating system. I'm pretty sure that was Microsoft's first hardware venture. This was long before the IBM PC and  MS DOS and Microsoft's main product was Microsoft Basic that ran on 8080 and Z80 systems. (they also sold a floating point version of Basic which ran on the Apple II with it's 6502 chip. It could be used in place of the Integer Basic written by Steve Wozniak.)

post #24 of 144
The problem I see with Windows 8 is so many controls are hidden unless you have the cursor in the right place, this gets old quickly. Also, it's designed to be a tablet & touch-centric OS first that has such a poorly designed fallback mode for mouse and keyboard based computers, I don't know why they bothered to offer a desktop version of the OS. The new UI seriously gimps any large screened computer to a setup that's appropriate for a 10" screen at most.
post #25 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Napoleon_PhoneApart View Post

It has a keyboard cum cover?!

 

I ain't touching it without latex gloves.

Please somebody tell me what the hell is a keyboard-cum-cover? I Googled it but still no luck. How someone can propose this as reasonable marketing strategy or brand name choice is beyond idiotic. Ok, I'm imagining a marketing meeting (I've been in plenty) and someones says  "I've got it!" 'Cum Cover' that's the ticket! Didn't any eyes roll back into their heads?

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post #26 of 144
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Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


If the Surface becomes a success and gains a respectable hold on the tablet market in a way WinPh has yet to capture then you'll have a guaranteed mea culpa from me. Outside of that I'd say it's debatable. I think you make a solid counter-argument but I still think MS should have come out with solid "this is how you use this device" ads, not this empty razzmatazz*.
* That word doesn't get used enough.

I didn't mean to make it sound like I am betting on the Surface or this campaign succeeding.  MS has a huge image problem and the general public, as far as I can tell, hasn't been saying "I wonder what cool new stuff MS is working on?" for quite some time now!  (The Zune and Windows Phone campaigns have shown that they can throw a lot of money into pushing something that isn't completely awful and still not sell any...)

 

However, I don't hate this first volley.  They have to catch some attention first (empty razzmatazz works well for that if it is fun enough) before they can make the solid stick.   If they are going to drop a $billion on this, a few million to get noticed in a light, positive, non-Windows Vista sorta way is no deal-breaker for me...

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post #27 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

The problem I see with Windows 8 is so many controls are hidden unless you have the cursor in the right place, this gets old quickly. Also, it's designed to be a tablet & touch-centric OS first that has such a poorly designed fallback mode for mouse and keyboard based computers, I don't know why they bothered to offer a desktop version of the OS. The new UI seriously gimps any large screened computer to a setup that's appropriate for a 10" screen at most.

 

Supporting two operating systems such as OS X and iOS must be a tricky business but will permit at least, convergence of the two technologies to be driven by advancing hardware and knowledge, rather than expediency.

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post #28 of 144
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Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Please somebody tell me what the hell is a keyboard-cum-cover? I Googled it but still no luck. How someone can propose this as reasonable marketing strategy or brand name choice is beyond idiotic. Ok, I'm imagining a marketing meeting (I've been in plenty) and someones says  "I've got it!" 'Cum Cover' that's the ticket! Didn't any eyes roll back into their heads?

LOL!  people are having fun with the different definitions of "cum" here.  Ostensibly, the author was using the word, not as you learned in middle school but to mean "together with."

 

From TheFreeDictionary.com:

Together with; plus. Often used in combination: our attic-cum-studio.

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post #29 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

They have to catch some attention first (empty razzmatazz works well for that if it is fun enough) before they can make the solid stick.  

Yeah kind of like those fun Seinfeld/Gates sleep over excursions were effective. Or the PC hunter episodes. Just another ill conceived sequel to a string of clueless marketing blitzes. 

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post #30 of 144

I liked the ad, but from everything I've seen, Win8's UI is just not doing it for me it's just sooo fugly, just another step down for MS.  They really have no clue, and I'm a happy PC user.  Win7 was fast and stable but they stripped out some seriously good desktop features (like each folder remembering it settings), just ridiculous and frustrating things that keep me on Vista for my main workstation.  But I built a Win7 Media center that boots in 10 sec, hums away in a closet with a 5T Raid recording 8 shows simultaneously with a Commercial skipping add-on that's such a killer feature, streaming to X-Box Clients in the other rooms in our house (and via Remote Potato on the iPad or iPhone).  So MS makes some amazing stuff, they just have no taste as has been said before.  They should just do what they do best, get a real call center that can really help users, and be happy owning the market they already have.  Instead they just piss away money to try to become something they will never be...

post #31 of 144

Summa cum laude I get, not this Freudian slip. It is not just this author it is all over the net going back to July. They fixed the misnomer 'Metro' They should have fixed this too.

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post #32 of 144
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Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Yeah kind of like those fun Seinfeld/Gates sleep over excursions were effective. Or the PC hunter episodes. Just another ill conceived sequel to a string of clueless marketing blitzes. 

Well, I did say "if it is fun enough."  The Seinfeld/Gates thing was excruciating and the PC hunters series was a little desperate, so neither of those would qualify as positive razzmatazz.

 

Anyway, in no way did I set out this evening to defend MS!  I feel like I need to take a long shower with some bleach...  I'll drop it now.

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post #33 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Yeah kind of like those fun Seinfeld/Gates sleep over excursions were effective. Or the PC hunter episodes. Just another ill conceived sequel to a string of clueless marketing blitzes. 

And despite all those clueless ads.... Microsoft still has 90% of the market.

353 million PCs were sold last year... all toting a Microsoft OS.

Yes... PC sales are declining... it's being reported that only 348 million PCs will be sold this year.

Microsoft is doomed because of bad advertising... right? 1cool.gif
post #34 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post
Microsoft is doomed because of bad advertising... right? 1cool.gif

Even Apple has made a few cringe-worthy ads and we didn't give them a break either.

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post #35 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post


And despite all those clueless ads.... Microsoft still has 90% of the market.
353 million PCs were sold last year... all toting a Microsoft OS.
Yes... PC sales are declining... it's being reported that only 348 million PCs will be sold this year.
Microsoft is doomed because of bad advertising... right? 1cool.gif

Well, I think MS is selling all those PCs because of momentum resulting from a long term near monopoly on business computer usage, not because of their advertising.

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post #36 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arlor View Post

It's a memorable ad, and it serves to demonstrate the two key physical differentiating factors from the iPad just fine.

What two factors? The iPad already has magnetic covers that click, and there are also keyboard covers available from third parties.

post #37 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post

And despite all those clueless ads.... Microsoft still has 90% of the market.
353 million PCs were sold last year... all toting a Microsoft OS.
Yes... PC sales are declining... it's being reported that only 348 million PCs will be sold this year.
Microsoft is doomed because of bad advertising... right? 1cool.gif

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post #38 of 144

I guess it gets the idea across, but for the consumer who isn't really paying attention it will just look like an iPad ad thanks to the Surface's inherent lack of visual distinctiveness.

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post #39 of 144
The ad is meant to show that MS has entered the tablet market and to a certain extent it succeeds. But I found the ad to be unfocused and wonder if it will serve to confuse rather than clarify for you average punter. I wonder if people will think 'its kinda like an iPad, but with a keyboard', and not really care. I think a keyboard can be handy on a tablet but I wonder if it is counter productive as a selling point. If the keyboard is such a big deal why not get a laptop?
post #40 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimr View Post

In 1980, Microsoft made a card that plugged into an Apple II computer. The card was called the Softcard and contained a Z80 processor chip which allowed the Apple II to run the CP/M operating system. I'm pretty sure that was Microsoft's first hardware venture. This was long before the IBM PC and  MS DOS and Microsoft's main product was Microsoft Basic that ran on 8080 and Z80 systems. (they also sold a floating point version of Basic which ran on the Apple II with it's 6502 chip. It could be used in place of the Integer Basic written by Steve Wozniak.)

So... SoftCard means they are ready to make a modern tablet?
Seems logical to me. Carry on.

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