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Bizarre Microsoft Windows 8.1 ad pleads: "Honestly, it works for work"

post #1 of 83
Thread Starter 
Rather than correcting its Surface billboards with Excel math errors, Microsoft appears to be pleading with the public to take Windows 8.1 seriously in a new ad headlined: "Honestly, it works for work."

Windows works honestly


The intensity of Microsoft's billion dollar advertising campaigns for Surface and Windows has resulted in the placement of what appears to be an apology directly opposite the company's Excel-error billboard in San Francisco.

Windows works honestly


The "Honestly" poster promotes Surface alternatives from Microsoft's hardware partners, in particular a cheaper Asus Transformer netbook with a detachable screen, which like the Surface runs a version of Windows.

Asus has struggled to sell tablets of any kind, whether running Windows or Android; the company also builds Google's Nexus 7 tablet. This summer, the company pared back its production plans for both tablets and notebooks while doubling down on a hybrid device that runs both platforms.

IDC recently reported that Asus shipped a total of just 3.5 million tablets in Q3, and retroactively reduced its year ago estimate for the company, dropping its market share from 8.6 percent to 6.6 percent. Apple sold 14 million iPads in the quarter, more than Asus and Samsung combined.

If ads 'were easy, Microsoft could just write a check'



Microsoft's "Honestly" poster presents an office worker who appears to plead with his audience that Windows is capable of doing actual work, mirroring television ads where the same spokesman comments about how the cheaper device provides "more value than an iPad," in part because it has "a real keyboard."

Microsoft's primary feature thrust with Windows 8 has been the addition of touch screen support to rival the multitouch attraction of smartphones and iPads. However, sales data indicates that this effort hasn't been successful, with just 11 percent of this year's PCs being sold with touch features.

Microsoft's own touch-centric Surface device also failed to catch the attention of consumers or users in the enterprise over the past year, resulting in dismal sales and a $900,000,000 write off of unsold inventory.

Surface dancing


Ad the math of a crisis



Microsoft has gone on the offensive in its advertising, ridiculing its competitors with oddly combative and humorless campaigns that have fallen flat or, in at least one case, been apologetically retracted for being in bad taste.

One of Microsoft's latest campaigns was kicked off by a public comment from the company's Vice President of Communications Frank Shaw ridiculing Apple's newly-free Pages, Keynote and Numbers productivity apps for Macs and iOS devices as "imitation apps."

Surface Excel error


The company subsequently posted billboards depicting Excel on a Surface, but failing to add seven numbers correctly, arriving at a $500 typo.

Rather than correcting the mistake, Shaw spent days explaining that the "ad shows work in progress."

Other Microsoft experts convened to arrive at an explanation published by TechCrunch: that the great complexity of Excel can enable users to create misleading spreadsheets that appear legitimate, but actually hide major accounting errors.
post #2 of 83
PR gone bad is an understatement. Consider the valuation of MS, the paid talent therein, and wonder why they make the moves they do.
post #3 of 83

It’s part of a new lineup of ads from Microsoft.

 

“Honestly, it works for work.”

“No, really, you can play games on it.”

“Wait, where are you going? Take one with you!”

“Someone, please… buy one…”

 

Too bad these are harder to take down than YouTube videos.

post #4 of 83
Ok, enough about the Excel 'error' already. It obviously was someone entering a value but not saving it yet. Does it look bad in an ad, sure, but let it go already it's not an Excel bug. I love AI but often your bias is taken to new levels of hubris
post #5 of 83
"resulting in dismal sales and a $900,000 write off of unsold inventory."

Ha! They wish it was merely a $900,000 write-off. It was actually a thousand times worse than that... literally.

What is going on with the reporting on this site. I'm new here. Is it always this bad, or is this a new development?
post #6 of 83
Hey Microsoft.
You're advertising it wrong.

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post #7 of 83
yeah they are shockers, Apple are much better at BS no doubt.
post #8 of 83
I think the only way to fix things at Microsoft. Is to bring in new blood at the highest levels. The company needs a radical rethink. It's in everyone's interests for this company to rebuild themselves just like Apple did when Jobs returned. Enough of this, build great products, software then you won't need to talk shit about the competition. Good luck.
post #9 of 83
Originally Posted by starxd View Post

"resulting in dismal sales and a $900,000 write off of unsold inventory."

Ha! They wish it was merely a $900,000 write-off. It was actually a thousand times worse than that... literally.

What is going on with the reporting on this site. I'm new here. Is it always this bad, or is this a new development?

 

So, uh, what was your point again?

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post #10 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by edslunch View Post

Ok, enough about the Excel 'error' already. It obviously was someone entering a value but not saving it yet. Does it look bad in an ad, sure, but let it go already it's not an Excel bug. I love AI but often your bias is taken to new levels of hubris

That was exactly it, they hadn't yet hit 'enter'. Pretty bad mistake though for a major PR / ad company. Unless of course the culprit was an Apple sleeper ... 1biggrin.gif
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post #11 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttremeth View Post

yeah they are shockers, Apple are much better at BS no doubt.

That would be B rilliant S oftware I assume? 1biggrin.gif

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post #12 of 83
Originally Posted by zaba View Post

I think the only way to fix things at Microsoft. Is to bring in new blood at the highest levels. The company needs a radical rethink. It's in everyone's interests for this company to rebuild themselves just like Apple did when Jobs returned. Enough of this, build great products, software then you won't need to talk shit about the competition. Good luck.

 

Good luck with that, Microsoft.

Ballmer was so much more fun when he was still alive.

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post #13 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by edslunch View Post

Ok, enough about the Excel 'error' already. It obviously was someone entering a value but not saving it yet. Does it look bad in an ad, sure, but let it go already it's not an Excel bug. I love AI but often your bias is taken to new levels of hubris
Especially considering the original AI post has an error of its own that was subsequently corrected.
post #14 of 83
Originally Posted by edslunch View Post
Does it look bad in an ad, sure

 

In fact, it’s the entire point of an ad: to not misrepresent a product. Your argument is moot.

post #15 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

So, uh, what was your point again?

Typo in the article. Dan's articles are great but often published with serious typos. It was a $900 million write off, not $900 thousand.
post #16 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

In fact, it’s the entire point of an ad: to not misrepresent a product. Your argument is moot.

You are suggesting there is 'Truth in Advertising' in the USA? I take your point but ... 1biggrin.gif

BTW has Microsoft ever made a good ad? ... I am trying to remember one.
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post #17 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by NormM View Post

Typo in the article. Dan's articles are great but often published with serious typos. It was a $900 million write off, not $900 thousand.

Brilliant are people dyslexic often quite. Fact it's well a known. But you are right, proof reading seems a dead art.
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Long on AAPL so biased
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post #18 of 83
When a company has to say "Honestly" in an ad, that tells me that so far they've not been honest in the past. Honestly...

Microsoft is just plain desperate..
post #19 of 83

Between their ads and their stores, Microsoft seems to be more concerned with Dancing than anything else...

 

How can I take a company that pulls this crap seriously. 

post #20 of 83

Microsoft's identity problem.. just like Blackberry. They don't know if they want to be for business or consumers! Notice how they have Netflix and Halo app with the word Business in the same ad. 

post #21 of 83
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post
BTW has Microsoft ever made a good ad? ... I am trying to remember one.

 

From an objective perspective, the Nokia ads that played iOS and Android users against each other were great. That’s exactly the right thing for Microsoft to have done in the situation they’re in. The only problem is that Windows Phone 7/8 isn’t any good, nor are the phones it’s on. So the idea was great, but the content wasn’t.

post #22 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


You are suggesting there is 'Truth in Advertising' in the USA? I take your point but ... 1biggrin.gif

BTW has Microsoft ever made a good ad? ... I am trying to remember one.

I liked some on the Win7 Phone ads, where goobers had their heads buried in their phones instead of enjoying life around them. There's one where a baseball bounces off a dad's head. The best one has to be where there's a guy in bed messing with his phone and a hot brunette in a teddy looking at him with this 'uh, hello!' look as she shows it off for him. The theme was to get off your phone and back to your life.

 

Those ads resonated with me after seeing so many people living in their phones at the time. 

 

Edit: Corrected from Kin to Win7 Phone! Here's the one I was thinking of- http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XDykKhH_obw


Edited by Rich Gregory - 11/26/13 at 2:04pm
post #23 of 83

I don't understand how you're using the paragraph headings.  For example:

Quote:
 If ads 'were easy, Microsoft could just write a check'

This heading quotes someone, but neither the source or the quote are mentioned anywhere in the paragraph.  But what do I know?  As your troll account suggests, "Brilliant are people dyslexic often quite"

post #24 of 83
Honestly my Microsoft Office 2011 works for work on my rMBP.
post #25 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Creep View Post
 

I don't understand how you're using the paragraph headings.  For example:

This heading quotes someone, but neither the source or the quote are mentioned anywhere in the paragraph.  But what do I know?  As your troll account suggests, "Brilliant are people dyslexic often quite"

 

It’s an allusion to something Steve Jobs once said. It’s okay if you don’t get the jokes, they’re not for everyone.

post #26 of 83
Microsoft has a long history of unbelievably horrible commercials. I think the worse was the vomit commercial for Internet Explorer. Dean Caine killed any career he had left by agreeing to be seen in this foolishness. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xB9fhjnJcB0
post #27 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by edslunch View Post

Ok, enough about the Excel 'error' already. It obviously was someone entering a value but not saving it yet. Does it look bad in an ad, sure, but let it go already it's not an Excel bug. I love AI but often your bias is taken to new levels of hubris

Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

That was exactly it, they hadn't yet hit 'enter'. Pretty bad mistake though for a major PR / ad company. Unless of course the culprit was an Apple sleeper ... 1biggrin.gif

while i agree that's enough of it, you're both wrong in that they had just not yet hit enter.

the placement of the text in the cell is on the right, which indicates enter has been pressed. and the presence of the dollar sign likely indicates formatting has already been applied, which only happens after enter is pressed.
"Personally, I would like nothing more than to thoroughly proof each and every word of my articles before posting. But I can't."

appleinsider's mike campbell, august 15, 2013
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"Personally, I would like nothing more than to thoroughly proof each and every word of my articles before posting. But I can't."

appleinsider's mike campbell, august 15, 2013
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post #28 of 83
In my opinion Microsoft got it all wrong. I mean seriously. Essentially they're trying to sell work devices to consumers, or at least advertise it like that.
Obviously no one is taking them seriously and unless they address this issue and actually start showing people how those devices enrich their lives, it won't sell any better. I mean, who's gonna buy someone a Surface for christmas for the reason of getting work done or running

Microsoft Excel on it? Sorry, that's not a selling point for the regular consumer - not at all. That's like selling refrigerators in Antarctica.

However, let's not blame Microsoft. They have simply lost their way and mistakes such as these are not really their fault. I mean, consumer is not really in Microsofts DNA. That's not what they're good at and that's not what they ever understood. They got their business tools, platforms, servers, programs and whatnot and huge third party networks around those products. Better stick to those things.

Ventures such as XBOX (although successful), Zune, WP (for consumers) just don't suit them. Putting your old faces into colourful pastel polo shirts in front of tasteless block colour backgrounds and playing cheesy music on stage doesn't change this fact and certainly doesn't make them suddenly appear "cool". That's the whole problem. I do not know a single person who actually thinks that Microsoft is "cool". I also don't know a single person who actually associates the "Windows" brand with anything cool, yet alone anything positive.

Microsoft, let's face it, the times where people could walk into computers are over. Consumers have used your products, because that's how computers were for a long time. There was little alternative. People had to lern them, people had to read the manual and even if all they ever wanted to do is print a letter and visit a website. Times have changed, though and Microsoft has never come up with any interesting offering for Joe Average. All they can think of is ugly products and their office suite. Well, guess what. Turns out all those customers were never really your customers due to choice.
post #29 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

 

So, uh, what was your point again?

 



What do you mean what was my point? My point is that the article said it was a $900,000 (nine hundred thousand) write-off when, in fact, it was a $900,000,000 (nine hundred million) dollar write-off. It has since been corrected.
post #30 of 83

"Honestly, it works for work" ?

 

That sounds more like a desperation plea than an effective ad slogan. How pathetic.


Edited by Apple ][ - 11/26/13 at 2:45pm
post #31 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by starxd View Post

"resulting in dismal sales and a $900,000 write off of unsold inventory."


Ha! They wish it was merely a $900,000 write-off. It was actually a thousand times worse than that... literally.


What is going on with the reporting on this site. I'm new here. Is it always this bad, or is this a new development?

So, uh, what was your point again?

Likely that they missed the amount by 1000x?
post #32 of 83
In nature, an animal caught by its throat wiggles a bit, rolls its eyes and then lets its tongue hang out in tacit acceptance of its fate. It is time for Microsoft to do likewise.
post #33 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

In fact, it’s the entire point of an ad: to not misrepresent a product. Your argument is moot.

Surely the point of an ad is to misrepresent a product as much as legally possible to make it desirable?

post #34 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by st88 View Post

Make fun of Microsoft's ad campaign all you want, that mid-range T100 for $349 is a killer device. 

Killer of the Surface2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pooch View Post


while i agree that's enough of it, you're both wrong in that they had just not yet hit enter.

the placement of the text in the cell is on the right, which indicates enter has been pressed. and the presence of the dollar sign likely indicates formatting has already been applied, which only happens after enter is pressed.

MS Excuse #6: auto calculation was turned off.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

"Honestly, it works for work" ?

That sounds more like a desperation plea than an effective ad slogan. How pathetic.

What about "buy me, please? "


If one reason to buy these hybrids is the hard keyboard, Apple should mention iPad works with a plethora of Bluetooth keyboards. No dancing or "clicking" necessary.
post #35 of 83
"Honestly - get back to work (or you're fired)" - S Ballmer
post #36 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by cynic View Post

Microsoft Excel on it? Sorry, that's not a selling point for the regular consumer - not at all. That's like selling refrigerators in Antarctica.

 

Ironically, if Microsoft had released a "real" version of Excel for iOS after iPad 1 was released, they would have made a few billion off it by now (certainly more net profit than they've made off of the Windows 8 'ecosystem' to date), and Mobile Excel would now be the standard for mobile spreadsheets.

 

Instead, the market for such an application is still wide open, so Numbers or Google Apps still has the potential to snatch the crown from the king's head.

post #37 of 83
Just wait until Microsoft launches Office for Xbox One. "Honestly. It works for work."

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #38 of 83
Originally Posted by DarkLite View Post
Surely the point of an ad is to misrepresent a product as much as legally possible to make it desirable?

 

No.

post #39 of 83
There's an interesting pattern to human behavior.

The stronger someone stresses their honesty, the more likely it is that they're lying. You see that in the "honestly" of the ad above. Whoever created the ad must have known "it works for work" was a real whopper.

Listen to speeches by Nixon, Clinton or Obama and, even if you know nothing else, you can spot their lies just by looking for what they emphasize. Repetition is another truth tester. In long, drawn out political debates (i.e. the Vietnam and Iraqi wars), those who're honest soon tire of repeating what to them the equivalent of saying 2 2 4 over and over again. In contrast, those who's lying will continue to try to shout down the last dissenting voice.

Details are another truth tester, particularly in personal conversations. If some stranger says they work for a PR firm in Chicago, they're probably telling the truth. If they go into great detail about their firm and the clients it has, perhaps puffing their importance at it, they're probably lying. Again, as with repetition, they're trying to smother their lies with words.

Promises work much the same way. The more often a person promises something, the more likely he knows he's not going to do it, i.e. Obama's "you can keep your plan... your doctor." The entire premise of Obamacare was to force you off a plan you like. That fact had to be driven underground until after last year's elections. Never forget, most lies have reasons.

Just keep in mind that this doesn't mean that every politicians lies. Some are honest. Nor does it mean that even a grossly dishonest one always lies. I'm old enough to remember 1968, when LBJ announced that he wouldn't seek a second term. Perhaps because I knew the guy was liar, I refused to believe him. But another factor was his emphasis, "I will not seek, nor will I accept..." I read that as saying, "OK, if you push me a little, I'll run." In that case, I was wrong.

LBJ illustrates how I respond to liars. I make a point of never trusting them again--a habit I picked up working with drug addicts, who often lie for no discernible reason. But that also means that, on the rare occasion when someone like LBJ needs to be honest about something important, he's not believed. Serves him right.

I'll add another comment. How do you hype something without being dishonest? Do what Steve Jobs did and invent some form of praise that sounds impressive but is devoid of real content--"funtastic." Give facts like "twice as fast," and the tech-press is likely to squabble over some detail.

"Works for work" is like that. I doesn't give any statistic about how many people are using Windows 8.1 on the job. An honest statistic wouldn't impress. A dishonest statistic would draw fire. Better to be vague.
post #40 of 83
Quote-"Asus has struggled to sell tablets of any kind, whether running Windows or Android; the company also builds Google's Nexus 7 tablet. This summer, the company pared back its production plans for both tablets and notebooks while doubling down on a hybrid device that runs both platforms."

Go home Asus, you're drunk.
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