New bit of tech (Part 2)

Microsoft yesterday launched the second wave of its home PC adverts.

This time our protagonist is Cheryl, another luddite with a four year old PC this time (seriously, how often should you have to replace a home PC?).

The advert follows her as she is shown a few models by an expert, including one built into the screen, “Where’s the tower?” she gasps in awe. Now most non technical people I know don’t refer to a tower as a tower. They call it “the box” or “the hard drive”. I appreciate they’d only confuse things by using these terms (and attract the ire of eagle-eyed geeks), but perhaps MS are missing the point by using “tower”. Certainly the demonstrater adds to this by pointing out it has a 500gb hard drive.  Is that good? My non techie friends would ask.

The concept is ok. It should certainly be the type of scenario where one could demonstrate a range of features and benefits. But no. Apart from the pc in a screen and a laptop with a revolving screen, I’m struggling to spot any. And these two are just features that are obvious in their use. At one point Cheryl looks at the side of a monitor and says she likes the DVR. Does she mean a Digital Video Recorder? Or does she mean, “I like that you can watch and record TV?”. This is basic stuff.

The 30 second ad, aired during prime time TV last night, spends approx 15 seconds explaining the concept, 10 seconds looking at PCs and 5 seconds on Cheryl holding up her new grey Sony Vaio. I’m up to date she says. Campaign website suggests its a Sony Vaio Y. Wikipedia says that this was launched in January 2010. So, Cheryl, you’re replacing your four year old PC with an 18 month old model. According to Moore’s Law, you’re half way down the up-to-date scale.

Microsoft needs to rethink these ads. They don’t need a massive overhaul, just a script change. By someone who doesn’t talk in computer acronyms. Run through half a dozen benefits in 15 seconds, and you have a sale. Blather on like this and you’ll have customers running for the hills.

I’m a PC and talking to humans is not my forte.



  1. Great post Sam. I was chatting with my Uncle about my Apple laptop yesterday. It’s about 4 years old. I phoned up Apple support to see if I could upgrade the OS and they were shocked I hadn’t upgraded my hardware years ago.

    I started to realise the average mac user probably upgrades within every 2 years, if you don’t, like me, you start to see software is not compatible with your machine. So what did I do? I upgraded the OS and now suffer from system locks up every few hours from not having enough processor power.

    1. Thanks Ant

      It’s incredible isn’t it? You shouldn’t be forced to upgrade every few years; the new features should make it an appealing, compelling offer. A pull rather than a push. It shouldn’t be about your old machine deteriorating, but new models offering new features: better networking, integration with TV, games console, fridge, whatever: something to make life better, not back to how it was the last time you upgraded!

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