Microsoft insults its own customers in bewildering anti-iPad ad

Dan Thorpe-Lancaster, writing for Windows Central:

Microsoft is going all-in on that last one with its new holiday ad for the Surface Go, poking a little fun at the iPad and Apple's ambitions to make it a PC replacement.Set to the tune of "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer," the ad sees a girl joyously professing the merits of a Surface Go over the iPad."Grandma, don't run out and buy an iPad. Fine when I was six but now I'm ten," the girl sings, implying the iPad is a toy meant for a younger audience. "My dreams are big, so I need a real computer to do all the amazing things I know I can." Ouch.

Microsoft has struggled with advertising for years, bouncing back and forth between marketing Surface as an iPad... no, wait... MacBook... no, wait... iPad alternative and not only failing to really make any consistent case, but to advertise Surface itself on its own merits. (Which, years later, I still think would be a far better strategy for them, even if it is complicated by Microsoft essentially competing, uncomfortably, against its own third-party hardware vendors.)

The problems here are two-fold.

  1. It's hard to take Microsoft's statements about the iPad as sincere given the company prioritized making Office for iPad over making Office for its own platforms. That's how important and computational the device was to them.
  2. It ends up with Microsoft's hardware ad insulting its own software users — the people who subscribe to and love using Office on iPad. Which is a bewildering strategy for the company. (Likely yet another discomforting issue that arrises from a platform and application maker also competing against its own vendors.)

Superficially, I can see how this might have appeared like a good strategy for the Surface marketing team. But it remains a bad one for Microsoft. Here's hoping they're the ones who grow up and make some "real" ads in the future.

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Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.