Bottom line is that Microsoft took people who’d heard bad things about Vista, showed them a “new” OS called “Navajo” and they were impressed. Ta Da! Navajo is actually Vista!
This is similar to the old Folger’s ads where great coffee at an upscale restaurant was secretly swapped with Folger’s instant coffee crystals and nobody noticed! Or the more recent Pizza Hut ads were pasta dishes at a fine restaurant were actually supplied by the pizza chain. Does anybody really believe this stuff?
At any rate, the above ads relied primarily on the customer thinking they were getting something upscale due to their surroundings, but the Microsoft campaign simply ignores all of Vista’s issues! In other words, the very reasons for the bad press Microsoft is trying to dispel are completely ignored in the new campaign! From the article:
To be sure, the focus groups didn’t have to install Vista or hook it up to their existing home network.
Of course not. They didn’t have to use it long, either, or setup their peripherals, etc.
To put these ads in perspective, it’s clear they’re designed as if the typical bad Vista press goes like this:
The OS installed flawlessly with no interaction on my part, identifying my hardware on the first try. After the reboot all peripherals were identified and worked just as with XP. Installing my old apps was a breeze and they worked just as before. Performance was snappy (at least as good as XP) on my X-year old hardware. The system contains many productivity improvements that made my daily work faster and easier. More enjoyable, too. Security was much tighter, with the extra protection taking place in the background while I simply did my daily work. However, despite all the above I cannot recommend Vista because it’s kind of ugly and doesn’t really make me say “wow”. You should skip this and buy Mac OS X.
If the above was a typical Vista review, one could argue that this steaming pile of “Navajo” marketing made sense. Unfortunately, the typical Vista review pans it for the exact opposite of that imaginary review. Many people think it’s graphics, desktop, etc. are attractive. Big deal. Installation is bad, peripheral support is bad, it’s slow, it needs new hardware, the UAC security “warnings” are a joke, and at the end of the day there’s no six-year improvement on XP. The “Navajo” campaign will simply ignore that.
As one might expect, a campaign designed to ignore the actual reasons for Vista’s bad press and reputation meets with Paul “iShill” Thurrott’s complete approval. That alone ought to be enough to convince anyone what a sham it is.
Paul, of course, takes a shot at Apple’s “Get a Mac” ads and says they “lapse into outright lying”, yet this ruse out of Redmond is blessed and praised by the Window SuperSite.
Hey, Paul, if Apple did the same thing with MobileMe, showing a group of users who’ve heard bad things about it a controlled environment to disparage the bad press, while ignoring setup, mail, sync, and usability issues, would you approve or would you take Apple to task? Don’t worry, the question is rhetorical so there’s no need to spin a response. We both know your answer, and that differing view is the line between your Microsoft leg-humping and Apple bashing.
Meanwhile, I suspect this campaign will win over as many converts as the previously mentioned Folger’s and Pizza Hut ads did. I’m sure some people will be fooled, but it won’t be enough. Other people might be tempted to give Vista a try. Microsoft will not win most of those people over, however, because for them the truth behind Vista’s extra efforts for little gain over XP will simply be re-affirmed.