The Lite Side

Future Advertising Blunders by Microsoft

- 2003.05.06

How could we resist, after the shining examples laid down by Redmond in the "Fake Switcher" fiasco and now the "Butterfly Backfire?" Over here at the Lite Side, we have to predict the next blunder Microsoft makes in advertising - after all, they even steal their advertising ideas. Since that's true, they might as well steal some of my ideas for the Lite Side's

Future Advertising Blunders by Microsoft

#10. Microsoft rents a blimp with a giant MSN butterfly on the side, which they intentionally crash into a Superbowl crowd (inspired by the book Black Sunday) for the additional exposure. Microsoft later apologizes and gives a leftover copy of Windows Me to the families of victims.

#9. Microsoft pays motorists to speed and get pulled over for it, then display an MSN logo on the roofs of their cars as all the looky-looks drive by (inspired by Bay Area traffic). Microsoft later apologizes and pays the advertising costs for the evening news reporting the fiasco.

#8. Microsoft purchases a midsize designer housewares company, then puts the corporate logo on all of the labels, just before conducting insider trading that puts the company in the news every evening (inspired by Martha Stewart). Microsoft later apologizes and reduces the size of towels, establishing a new industry standard.

#7. Microsoft joins with Disney to create a new Disney cartoon, Clippy the Bendable and his adorable animal sidekick, the Tack, which looks remarkably like a guy wearing a big blue suit (inspired by The Tick). Microsoft later apologizes and removes Clippy - while leaving Tack intact.

#6. Microsoft pays two idiots to drive around town smashing things, hoping it will turn into a canceled TV show and a low-budget movie (inspired by Jackass). Microsoft invites the stars of the show to a lunch at the corporate headquarters, then sues them for breaking a stained-glass coffee table shaped like a butterfly (of course, the whole thing is captured on video for the six o'clock news and for use in court).

#5. Microsoft sponsors a gangsta rap musician who, unknown to them, creates a song that says "busta blue/screen of death to you/Gonna smash a screen/unnastan what I mean" (inspired by any Fox News report of rap music). Microsoft holds a press conference to apologize, but no one can understand what they say.

#4. Microsoft gives away thousands of MSN CD-ROMs, each of which contains a tiny electronic circuit that explodes when the disk is inserted into a non-Windows computer - or a Win 98 or older machine (inspired by reports of exploding disks in 48x CD drives). Microsoft apologizes, then offers to recycle AOL CD-ROMs by grinding them up to make new MSN CD-ROMs. Everyone cheers for a while.

#3. Microsoft decides to cripple the Mac version of its software by making some important component of each product incompatible or nonfunctional with its enterprise scaled products - for example, Mac users cannot construct a multiple-choice response memo on an Outlook server (inspired by Trustworthy Computing). Microsoft doesn't apologize but rather points to all the people who haven't purchased its crippled product.

#2. Microsoft pays Safeway and Kroger to allow butterflies to be plastered on the floor of your local grocer. The sticky side of the butterflies are aimed upward, so it sticks to your shoe as a constant reminder to try MSN (inspired by their own ad campaign in NY). Microsoft apologizes and offers to replace your shoes with Air MSN sneakers.

#1. Microsoft offers to handle transaction payments for online purchases, then sets up your account to automatically pay for MSN by way of a "service fee" charged automatically to your account (inspired by PayPal and AOL). Microsoft apologizes, keeps charging the fee, and throws in a CD which explodes if inserted in a non-XP computer to help heal the wound.

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