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

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 88
    PR gone bad is an understatement. Consider the valuation of MS, the paid talent therein, and wonder why they make the moves they do.
  • Reply 2 of 88

    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.

  • Reply 3 of 88
    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
  • Reply 4 of 88
    starxdstarxd Posts: 128member
    "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?
  • Reply 5 of 88
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    Hey Microsoft.
    You're advertising it wrong.
  • Reply 6 of 88
    yeah they are shockers, Apple are much better at BS no doubt.
  • Reply 7 of 88
    zabazaba Posts: 226member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 88
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member

    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?

  • Reply 9 of 88
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,368member
    edslunch wrote: »
    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 ... :D
  • Reply 10 of 88
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,368member
    ttremeth wrote: »
    yeah they are shockers, Apple are much better at BS no doubt.

    That would be B rilliant S oftware I assume? :D

    Welcome to the forum.
  • Reply 11 of 88
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member

    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.

  • Reply 12 of 88
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    edslunch wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 88
    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.

  • Reply 14 of 88
    normmnormm Posts: 575member
    sockrolid wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 88
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,368member
    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 ... :D

    BTW has Microsoft ever made a good ad? ... I am trying to remember one.
  • Reply 16 of 88
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,368member
    normm wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 88
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member
    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..
  • Reply 18 of 88
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member

    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. 

  • Reply 19 of 88
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,158member

    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. 

  • Reply 20 of 88
    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.

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