July 3, 2009

WTHWTT?! Microsoft Tosses Up New Ad — Don’t Watch

by Freddy J. Nager, Founder & Fusion Director, Atomic Tango LLC

File under “What the Hell Were They Thinking?!”

A few days ago, Microsoft leaked a new ad for Internet Explorer 8 — though I’m not sure if “leaked” is the right verb for it. More like spilled, yakked up, upchucked, and Technicolor yawned it. The ad is nicknamed “OMGIGP,” which stands for “Oh My God I’m Gonna Puke.” Really. No kidding. And it actually has a woman vomiting in it. Think I’m jesting? Watch for yourself — if you can…(WARNING: NOT FOR THE FAINT OF GUT.)

No that’s not a Saturday Night Live sketch. That’s really a Microsoft ad featuring Dean Cain. I guess Jerry Seinfeld was on vacation. And so, too, were Microsoft’s brand watchdogs.

After an initial, um, gusher of disapproval from bloggers and consumers, Microsoft has yanked the ad — though it lives on at YouTube. For now. By the time you read this article, it may already be gone.

But sorry, Redmond, the damage is done. Yes, it went viral. Congrats. You are buzz marketing geniuses, since this ad is literally all over the place. When you’re losing ground in the browser wars, desperate measures might be necessary. But if that’s the image you want implanted in the minds of consumers regarding your new web browser, I think I’ll stick to Firefox.

P.S. Then again, some people might prefer that ad to the free Nickelback song offer that Microsoft is also using to promote IE8.

P.P.S. My friend Maryam (who first alerted me about the spot) notes that if Microsoft had made this same ad using “Family Guy” cartoon characters, “they would have gotten away with it.” Indeed, that would have been brilliant! A tie-in with that show would have made Microsoft kinda sorta even a little bit hip maybe.

Related article: Welcome to the Microsoft Store! Are you sure you want to enter? Are you sure? Are you sure?

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Shameless plug: For advertising that won’t make you gag, contact Atomic Tango

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Freddy is the Founder & Creative Strategist of Atomic Tango. He also teaches at the University of Southern California (go Trojans!), shoots pool somewhat adequately, and herds cats. Freddy received his BA from Harvard and his MBA from USC.

3 Responses

  1. Yeah I saw that as well, I don’t really know what’s going on with them. Anyway they fail everytime making themselves cool. hm

  2. so strange that they’d do something like that. Although if it convinces people to upgrade from IE6 I’d be happy.

    Do companies like MS realize that we’re smarter than that? (or at least most of us are) Besides the fact that other browsers have offered better privacy and more advanced security for years. They continue on oblivious to the external world. Take the MS response to this site: http://fixoutlook.org/ for example. Oh well, Open Office and Google Apps keep me very happy. Soon I won’t even be using a MS operating system.

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