It is hard to decipher what the people running things at Microsoft are thinking. They have enough on their plate with the Motorola patent lawsuit and the below par performance of their new operating system, the Windows 8. Yet, they found time to court another potential controversy. The company recently released a new ad promoting the latest version of its internet browser, Internet Explorer 10. However, it takes the self-deprecating ad campaign they began in March to a whole new level.
Generally, when a company is pitching a product and convincing people to use it, one expects the company to list its best features and provide solid reasons. Microsoft has taken the other way around. It is no secret that Internet Explorer isn’t the most popular browser available to users today. This is the age of Google Chrome, Safari, Opera and Firefox. People believe Microsoft’s internet browser is outdated and does not work. Microsoft is saying the exact same thing in their new ad. Accepting the fact that users hate their browser is something people were not expecting from Microsoft. In most people’s view, the company is arrogant and tends to overlook its shortcomings. This doesn’t seem to be the case if the ad is to be believed.
From a marketing perspective this is an interesting shift, but not all that different to other companies that are currently dominating the tech market. You may recall Samsung mocking the fans of their biggest competitors around the launch of the iPhone 5. While Microsoft have decided not to focus on the features their competitors are missing, in a round about way they’re doing the same thing-trying to convert those users who wouldn’t generally consider them as an option. Perhaps the marketing team at Microsoft feel like the standard-funky tune/slick graphics routine wasn’t winning the browser wars and a more direct message was required.
The main point of the new IE10 ad is to highlight the new feature which has been added to the browser which makes it perform better. In other words, the browser ‘sucks less’ with the addition of the aforementioned feature.
Not only has Microsoft cleverly generated publicity for its browser and the new feature but it also has mocked haters and critics. In short, Microsoft has killed two birds with one stone. As the video shows, a person is mocking IE 10 all over the internet. There are many people who are known to do that, popping up in discussions involving the browser. What may seem like something nonsensical from the outside is instead a shrewd plan concocted by the marketing team at Microsoft.
Microsoft has wisely realized the fact that its browser no longer commands the respect of the masses. At present, it is still the most used browser in the world but it also has a large number of skeptics. If they had gone for an ad praising IE 10, it wouldn’t have delivered half the results this self-deprecating and mocking ad has done for them. In hindsight, it might not convince people to go back to using IE but it surely will create a buzz for the browser.