What the fuck is wrong with Microsoft's marketing departments?
I'm to understand that Pawn Shops won't exchange the used Chromebook you bought for your mom but then decided to, what, steal back so you could put it in hock in order to scrape together enough cash to get a bus to Hollywood where you'll wait tables for six years whilst failing audition after audition before finally being shat out the butt end of the porn industry?
I bet the Chromebook doesn't even make people dance in board meetings like the Surface apparently does.
Has there ever been such a low ball PR campaign by such a large company? It's seriously hard to think of any major company that's come out with such sleazy tactics as this against a direct competitor. Can you ever imagine Google or Apple running direct to consumer ads referring to Microsoft as "Microshaft" or some other slogan? Even on Reddit, things such as "M$" usually result in a torrent of down votes.
It's a fascinating strategy, and I'm kind of scared what it will mean if it works: can you imagine an all out war with every company doing this? I hope Google has the self control and patience not to return fire.
It didn't use a silly name for their competitor, but Apple's "I'm a PC" ads are one recent example of pointed negative advertising targeting a specific competitor (and using kind of silly stereotyping of "PC users" to do so): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfv6Ah_MVJU
There's a huge difference, though, which is that Apple pulled it off. The "I'm a PC" ads might have been barbed, but they were also funny, and managed to keep it upbeat. Whereas this "Scroogled" campaign just comes across as sullen and petulant.
Scalzi's Law: The failure mode of "clever" is "asshole".
Another of Apple's very-negative ads, the famous "1984" anti-IBM ad, is a good example of that. Analogizing your competitor to a dystopian totalitarian regime risks coming across as shrill and over-the-top, but Apple managed to pull it off.
That one's an interesting case, too, though. It didn't really come out and say any of that; it just let the viewer fill in the blanks. Case in point: In 1984 everyone interpreted it as obviously being about IBM. When it was re-issued in 2004, everyone interpreted it as obviously being about Microsoft.
Compare again with "Scroogled", which quite literally consists of little more than a pile of long-winded lecturing. Seriously, sitting through one of those ads transports me back to my sophomore history class. The one where the teacher had no shortage of. . . opinions.
I know that's what they were officially personifying, but I interpreted them as having a PC vs. Mac user undertone. TV ads generally aim for that kind of implication, trying to make people identify with the kinds of people who own X versus the kinds of people who own Y (see also: beer ads).
As far as I remember, that ad campaign backfired pretty hard when Microsoft released it's own "I'm a PC" ad.
IMHO that was the best ad Microsoft ever made. It was an obvious counter to the stereotype, but it made Apple users look like snobs, and Apple shut down its own campaign shortly after that ad.
As for the "scroogled", I think it mostly makes the impression that Microsoft is scared. I'm not sure if this campaign actually keeps more people from buying chromebooks than it does inform people that Google makes laptops.
This is a matter of taste of course, but I found those Apple ads somewhat playful and amusing. Perhaps I didn't see them all and some were harsher?
But this Microsoft campaign just feels like a political attack ad, bitter and cynical. I'm disappointed in Microsoft for doing it, and I think it's just going to help Google by making Microsoft look bad.
I tend to agree with you, but there are some differences:
A) Most of the "Mac vs PC" ads focused on showcasing ways Apple products were superior to Microsoft ones . This isn't universally true though . Regardless, that strategy is better than showing people break dance with your tablets.
B) The "Scroogled" campaign has a different, more aggressive tone to it. The whimsical background music in the Apple ads don't come across as forcefully as the term "Scroogled" does. I suspect this tone is more off-putting.
What about the "Internet Exploder"(that term is true). Microsoft has taken it's fare share of insulting and I don't believe calling things "Scroogled" made by Google are far from the truth. It is funny because it is true, they are using some great coding, marketing and anything else under the sun to screw us or at least the competition (we as consumers will pay soon enough). We all know this. They have great products, but that is NOT a typical laptop, it is a glorified Search Engine. I personally have insulted Microsoft products a lot in my time, but you have to admit, they are getting scroogled by many of these hyped up minimalist products, that do not offer half of what a PC, MAC or *nix (Ubuntu/Mint) can give you.
"The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste. They have absolutely no taste. And I don't mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don't think of original ideas, and they don't bring much culture into their products." Steve Jobs
I wouldn't quote Jobs in scenarios like this, given that he pulled a pretty similar thing with the whole Flash thing: a misinformation campaing with the sole purpose of attacking the competition with fallacies and sketchy arguments.
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They just don't Get It. I'm typing this on a Chromebook right now - the 14" HP one. It's cheap, it's light, it's pleasant to use. That's the value prop. Microsoft claims you can get the same with Windows, so the very first thing I did was check the specs and reviews for the models they tout. Are they really that comparable?
* Approximately same price, same screen size and resolution, same processor and memory.
* Four pounds vs. three. Oops, not so light any more.
* Battery life (according to reviews) is around three hours, vs. this Chromebook going all day.
* Typical Windows suspend/resume times, vs. true instant-on for the Chromebook. It's actually disconcerting to have everything right there before I've even sat back on the sofa.
* Typical Windows upgrade/maintenance cycle (and malware), vs. no worries on the Chromebook.
I have other laptops that I use when I need to do more serious work. One of them even runs Windows, though mostly as a host for a Linux VM. But at this price point there's nothing running Windows that can match the overall Chromebook experience. Until there is, sleazy marketing stunts like this only make it obvious that they're desperate.
That really depends on what version of windows was out when you grew out of your early teens. It is still around, absolutely, but I feel like the typical hn reader browses wisely enough to never encounter it.
Google is basically subsidizing Chromebooks at this point. An Acer C720 costs as much as a Kindle and is very close to some sort of price floor ($199), yet it comes with $120 worth of Drive storage (100GB @ $5 x 24 months) and some other stuff.
You can blow away ChromeOS and use these as a regular PC laptop. 1/5 the price of an 11" Macbook Air yet comparable in many ways. I feel like they are giving them away to buy market share.
> 1/5 the price of an 11" Macbook Air yet comparable in many ways.
Comparable in some ways, yeah, but from the specs, it looks to me like there are more differences than similarities: the C270 is a bit thicker and heavier, the CPU is way slower, you get 16GB of storage instead of 128GB, 2GB of RAM instead of 4GB, the display is lackluster (according to reviews), the camera is lower resolution, there's no keyboard backlight... and so on.
That said, it's still an incredible value for the money.
You actually get 4GB of RAM on the $249 model and it takes an SD card (11" air doesn't). It is ever so slightly thicker and heavier, yes; 0.75 inches – 2.76 lbs/1.25kg vs 0.68 inches - 2.38lbs/1.08 kg.
Close enough you couldn't tell them apart in a backpack. Certainly not as well built and precious but then again you can treat it like a disposable Kindle, throw it around, even if you destroy 4 you're still ahead.
As a marketing person this makes me cringe for my industry, expecially in the tech world where we are not always the most popular department. Microsoft should be able to attract great marketing talent so I don't understand why they keep putting out this quality of advertising.
Clearly the ad budget is there to have options and talented people work on their briefs. Having a dig at competitors is fine now and again. I once did very cheap video that poked fun at Google that went a little viral/popular but it was done in fun, as much mocking ourself, not like this. And I cant believe one marketing team in MS has produced this steady stream of flops over the years. It makes me wonder what environment they have that creates this output.
A year or so ago I considered writing to them looking for work as I feel they are in a great position to stop being the bad guys and let other companies take that mantle. The need to be brave and approach the market in an open honest format. On top of which they often have good tech that doesn't get explained correctly and falls by the wayside. But doing marketing like this, they'd be better doing nothing.
I got to Scroogled.com and thought it was some anti-google site cobbled together by a cranky blogger out looking for some corporate interest representing 'the man' to pick on. I can't believe it was assembled by the marketing department of one of the most recognizable brands in the world.
I think the actual ad is at least a bit clever, but this 'scroogled!' catchword and in particular this absurd website they came up with just makes the whole thing nauseating.
> I got to Scroogled.com and thought it was some anti-google site cobbled together by a cranky blogger out looking for some corporate interest representing 'the man' to pick on.
Funny you should say that ... There used to be a site called scroogle.org which was kind of like that, allowing "anonymous" searches by scraping Google while advertising gold and libertarianism on the side.
The iPad and Surface RT have native apps that work offline. The iPad runs iTunes. Surface RT tablets run Office. Both run Office365. The iPad runs iWork, a good alternative to Office for many. Surface RT tablets run Windows.
I think that covers all the things that were listed in the video.
This is a terrible campaign as many have pointed out and makes Microsoft come across as a little hysterical and rabid (not to mention a tad hypocritical).
Just to be clear, I have no love for either Microsoft or Google. But the irony is that many of the points that Microsoft are trying to put across about ChromeOS are actually legitimate concerns for many users.
For example, you cannot print in ChromeOS when offline and only a limited number of printers are available through Google's cloud print service.
Offline mode is important to many users who may have patchy or non-existent internet access at times.
Apps that run in the browser are still limited compared to their desktop equivalents. This isn't an issue for everyone, but what Microsoft fails to persuade in its copy is how much more capable desktop apps are. And maybe for some users they would be happier with the desktop equivalent rather than the limited web version. (They could have demonstrated this easily by showing some simple but attractive documents or tasks that are impossible to recreate in Google's web apps).
And then, of course, there are the privacy implications of signing into ChromeOS to do anything. Just what does Google track and record? Do they record every print job you send through it's cloud printing service? Do they track your activity in their web apps? I know many users simply don't care, but for me the privacy implications are horrendous. If you're always signed into ChromeOS, Google knows how often you're online, where you browse, how often you use certain apps - basically everything you do on the Chromebook.
Of course, Microsoft are no better on the privacy front, but they don't have the online reach of Google. Windows 8.1 requires signing into the OS with an email address (but it can be bypassed quite easily), and when you're using a desktop app you're not generally being tracked. In other words, you can have pretty good privacy on a desktop system. Can the same be said for ChromeOS?
This reminds me of last year when Microsoft tried to get #DroidRage trending on Twitter, and large part of the community responded with #WindowsRage. I hope offensive advertising campaigns like this one continue to work against them in some way.
I have no issues with Microsoft products - it is purely this kind of advertising is that makes me anti-Microsoft. The whole Scroogled campaign is an embarrassment.
I've had a chromebook (the Samsung model) for the past 4 months I've been travelling around the world. It has proved to be a practical, light (1 kg) and powerful little computer. Using crouton, I've installed lubuntu so that I can have Linux and ChromeOS running at the same time. I've been able to work coding Clojure, installed GIMP and Inkscape, watched movies and I could have installed Open Office but I didn't really seem to need it. Maybe the chromebook hasn't found a market yet, but I think it's the most practical computer I've owned. I think I would prefer a Macbook Air but the price is 4+ times the one for a Chromebook, which might well be worth it but I don't have the money for now :P.