[windows2000] MS Advertising

  • From: drtester@xxxxxxxxxxx
  • To: windows2000@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 29 Oct 2002 16:34:26 -0500

Perhaps Ray should be MS's new ad person!


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                 .....IN THIS DIGEST.....

// -- FEATURED POST -- //

        "Another Microsoft Blunder"
                ~ Article from David Pogue


        "Tracking Pr Results"
                ~ Philippe Borremans
                ~ Harry Hoover
                ~ Angie Jeffrey

        "Today's PR is NOT About the 'Net"
                ~ B.L. Ochman

        "Shel's Book Title Thread"
                ~ Keith Thirgood
                ~ Shel Horowitz

        "Media Kit On A Shoestring Budget"
                ~ Barry D. Bowen


// -- FEATURED POST -- //


1. From the Desk of David Pogue: A New Microsoft Blunder

People accuse Microsoft of devious tactics all the time. Microsoft
generally denies the accusations -- after all, they're flanked by
the best lawyers that money can buy. This week, though, Microsoft
gave itself a big, goopy pie in the face. On Oct. 9, the company
posted a testimonial on its Web site called "Confessions of a Mac to
PC Convert." It was a first-person account by a "freelance writer"
about how she had fallen in love with Windows XP. She compared the
operating system to a Lexus. "I was up and running in less than one
day, Girl Scout's honor," burbled the attractive, 20-something
brunette in the photo.

There was only one problem: She doesn't exist. A with-it member of
Slashdot.org, the popular hangout for articulate nerds, happened to
notice that the woman's picture actually came from GettyImages.com,
a stock-photo agency. Associated Press reporter Ted Bridis took it
from there. He tracked authorship of the article to one Valerie
Mallinson, a public-relations woman hired by Microsoft to write the
story. Microsoft was caught red-handed.

I was dying to find out how this public-relations fiasco came to
pass, but Microsoft spokesman Tom Pilla would speak only in
Officialese. "The article was mistakenly posted to the Microsoft Web
Site," is all he would tell me. "Once we realized that it wasn't
part of the Windows XP marketing activities, we pulled it. It's an
unfortunate situation, and we take responsibility."

No wonder Microsoft has become a laughingstock online. "Once we
realized . . . ?" Hello? Exactly how disconnected are the right and
left hands of Microsoft's marketing organization? And then there's
the feebleness of the ad itself. Not only is it a childish attempt
to mimic Apple's "Switch" campaign, but Microsoft's bogus customer
is hopelessly misinformed.

"AppleWorks pales in comparison to Microsoft Office XP. There's no
equivalent for the versatility of Microsoft Word, Excel and
PowerPoint," she writes, evidently never having heard of Microsoft
Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Macintosh. Then she makes it worse:
"Internet Explorer 6 does more for me than Netscape Navigator ever
did . . . I can name and organize my Favorites any way I want."
First of all, Internet Explorer is on the Mac, too. Second, had Ms.
Fictitious ever, in fact, used Netscape Navigator, she might have
realized that it, too, permits naming and organizing bookmarks.

To be sure, the online community is wasting no time in rubbing these
gaffes in Microsoft's face. But nobody's mentioning the most
disturbing part of all this: That it's part of a longer string of
fraudulent Microsoft marketing efforts.

In 1998, the Los Angeles Times reported that Microsoft, during its
antitrust trials, hired PR companies to flood newspapers with fake
letters of support, bearing ordinary individuals' names but actually
written by Microsoft PR staff. Payments were funneled through
Microsoft's PR company so that the checks couldn't be traced.

Later, during the antitrust trials, Microsoft attempted to prove the
inseparability of Windows and Internet Explorer by showing the judge
a video. There was only one problem: The government's lawyer noticed
that as the tape rolled on, the number of icons on the desktop kept
changing. Microsoft sheepishly admitted to having spliced together
footage from different computers to make its point.

And now a phony testimonial illustrated by a photo bought from a
stock-art agency.

What does all of this say about a company's corporate psyche that it
feels the need to fabricate evidence of the public's love?

Maybe Microsoft is jealous of the genuine affection Mac fans seem to
exhibit for their machines. Or could it be that the company somehow
feels rejected by the quirky (and as far as anyone can tell, real)
people in Apple's "Switch" ads. But more likely, Microsoft's latest
blunder demonstrates neither jealousy nor wounded pride -- it's pure
arrogance. The company thinks it can get away with anything. This
time, at least, it's wrong.

A screen shot of the original Microsoft ad can be viewed at:

Visit David Pogue on the Web at:

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