Microsoft's goal with Windows Phone 7: Disrupt the category

Microsoft's goal with Windows Phone 7: Disrupt the category

Summary: While there won't be any Windows Phone 7 devices for sale today, Microsoft will be sharing on October 11 an early look at the first wave of ads the company is planning to launch for the new devices.

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While there won't be any Windows Phone 7 devices for sale today, Microsoft will be sharing on October 11 an early look at the first wave of ads the company is planning to launch for the new devices.

I've included a couple of stills from the video/TV spots that will be airing in Europe next week and the U.S. by the end of October.

Microsoft is hoping the ads -- designed by Crispin, Porter + Bogusky (the folks behind the Windows 7 ad campaign) -- will help Redmond carve out a space in the increasingly crowded smartphone market.

"Our job is to disrupt the category," said David Webster, Chief Strategy Officer for Microsoft's Central Marketing Group.

"There are lots of ads out there from other vendors and carriers," Webster acknowledged.

To attempt to rise above the noise, Microsoft is taking a different tact. Instead of focusing on how much time users can spend downloading apps, playing games on their phones and tinkering with their settings, Microsoft is planning to highlight the reverse scenario.

The goal will be to show potential customers that they can spend less time trying to find the information they want on their Windows Phone 7 devices, and get back to "real life" more quickly. Because of the Live Tiles user interface on the phones, Windows Phone 7 users will be able to get information faster and without having to intervene manually as much as they do with other smartphones, the Softies plan to argue.

"Because we're hitting reset on the brand and the business, we needed an alternative point of view," Webster told me in an interview by phone late last week. "We need to show that some stone has been left unturned, some need left unfilled."

When an early version of the Windows Phone 7/AT&T commercials leaked a few weeks back, a number of bloggers and company watchers wondered aloud about the wisdom of Microsoft's decision to build a campaign around the idea of using phones less. Isn't that the opposite of what vendors and carriers -- and many users -- seem to want? (Many iPhone and Android phone users seem to love nothing better than scrolling through their apps when they have a spare minute or two.)

Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 campaign is aimed primarily at average users, not "enthusiasts." Microsoft is betting that the "use your phone less and enjoy life more" message will appeal to the majority of potential Windows Phone 7 customers. The idea is less glorification of technology for technology's sake will resonate with individuals who've had dinners, movies, and walking commutes interrupted by smartphone zombies. (Or sheepishly admit to being among those zombies themselves.)

Just as Microsoft and Crispin did (with varying degrees of success), the pair will be launching additional waves of Windows Phone 7 advertising over time. Future spots, which will air on the Web, TV and in print, will focus on how Windows Phone 7 devices work and how the devices will use "the cloud" for chores like backup, photo storage, lost phone retrieval and more.

But don't expect any kind of "Windows Phone 7 was my idea" ads, Webster said, even though that undercurrent may be there.

Microsoft has posted video clips of four Windows Phone 7 spots to its Web site. What do you think of Wave 1 of the campaign?

Topics: Operating Systems, Microsoft, Mobility, Software, Telcos, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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34 comments
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  • Drove By The AT&T Store This Morning

    Not a soul was outside it...well, if you count the homeless guy.

    Edit: Oh, that's right..it's in November....Microsoft is going to tease us with its suckiness today...

    My apologies.
    cyberslammer
    • So the only person outside the AT&T store was you

      the homless guy, cyberslummer?
      John Zern
      • RE: Microsoft's goal with Windows Phone 7: Disrupt the category

        @John Zern Yep, it was me....I'll admit it, I'm homeless typing from a 2500 SF house on my PC....

        I'm so destitute....
        cyberslammer
    • Yea, they need to bring Seinfeld back to make this more exciting!!!!!!!!!!

      NT.
      DonnieBoy
      • RE: Microsoft's goal with Windows Phone 7: Disrupt the category

        @DonnieBoy

        Gee Donnie, you and Cyber appear to be really worried. Multiple posts in blogs that you have no reason to be in, except to try and denigrate WP7 at any opportunity.

        You getting worried guys?

        ;-)
        tonymcs1
        • RE: Microsoft's goal with Windows Phone 7: Disrupt the category

          @tonymcs@...

          I missed OS Reload and the others.

          All the trolls in one place. Damn WP7 must be really good ;-)
          tonymcs1
  • RE: Microsoft's goal with Windows Phone 7: Disrupt the category

    Wow, the phone hasn't even launched yet and already Microsoft is stealing other people's stuff:

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/207421/angry_birds_maker_is_angry_with_microsoft.html?tk=hp_new
    cyberslammer
  • RE: Microsoft's goal with Windows Phone 7: Disrupt the category

    What a funny title. Of course Microsoft wants to disrupt the category. They can't win on merit so they will create misleading ads. I predict the phone makers will sell 1 more unit of a Win7 based phone that the units of Kin that sold.

    Of course, Microsoft will huff and puff about the billions 'sold' when all they did was license the OS and those phones sit on shelves and in warehouses - not sold to end users.
    The Danger is Microsoft
    • It's called 'stuffing the channel'

      @The Danger is Microsoft ... I had it explained to me once. Apparently most makers of devices do it.

      I don't understand the marketing message. It's trying to market a new, super duper advanced smartphone by ridiculing the people who buy smartphones.

      I'm not a smartphone user. I already have my life back and I already pay attention when walking down the street. If I wanted to be absorbed in a smartphone, I'd have done it already.

      I think this is very successful marketing - by CP&B to the Microsoft marketing department.
      HollywoodDog
  • "...a campaign around the idea of using phones less"

    As far as windows phones are concerned I'd say that this strategy is a huge success. Smartphone users are using Windows smartphones less and less.

    Wish the best to this strategy.
    OS Reload
    • Very droll ...

      @OS Reload ... but said Ballmer in 2007, "I like our strategy. I like it a lot."
      HollywoodDog
  • World to MS: Yawn

    And in other news, the world tells MS to go away. And F-off even.
    itguy08
  • Difference Between Microsoft and Apple

    Microsoft just throws its OS out on other people's hardware and calls it a success, skewing the numbers....

    Apple builds the hardware, builds the OS, and sells it to the consumer as its own...you can't skew the numbers there.

    FLOPARAMA for Microsoft.
    cyberslammer
    • RE: Microsoft's goal with Windows Phone 7: Disrupt the category

      @cyberslammer
      Yea it's called licensing... You want Microsoft to also build the phones? why? Manufacturers such as samsung and HTC make the best devices out there (yes, better than Apple) so why not use those partners to their advantage. And what numbers are they skewing, what statistics are they showing?
      artstate
    • RE: Microsoft's goal with Windows Phone 7: Disrupt the category

      @cyberslammer,
      "Apple builds the hardware, builds the OS, and sells it to the consumer as its own"
      It looks like Apple should consider what MS is doing with WP7 and let the pros build the hardware. vMaybe they would get better hardware quality, don't you think?

      http://news.cnet.com/8301-27076_3-20018982-248.html
      http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/antennagate-lives-consumer-reports-maintains-thumbs-down-for-iphone-4/39112
      dvm
  • Wow, it looks as though WMP has Frightened the ABMers!

    You guys are out in force with the negative comments on something you all claim doesn't matter.

    Now, go change your pants, your all embarrassing yourselves :)
    John Zern
    • But it DOES matter. Here's why

      @John Zern

      http://www.osnews.com/story/23872/Microsoft_s_Anti-Android_FUD_Campaign_in_Full_Swing
      OS Reload
      • Exactly! The patent scams and intimidation begin. But, funny that they do

        not sue Google directly. One thing is certain, MS does NOT want to resolve the patent issues once and for all, this much is true. Also funny that they DID sue Motorola, as Motorola does have lots of mobile phone patents that MS is surely infringing on. I suspect this is to get access to Motorola's patents in cell phones to help them with the scams.

        But, hey, it is the best that Microsoft can do, given their product sucks, and they are late to market.
        DonnieBoy
  • It's really their only play.

    What else are they going to do? Apple's got them beat on "fit and finish" subjective appeal, and Android wins [and will continue to win] on sheer variety of handsets. Aside from the Metro UI, which may or may not appeal to any particular user, the only real advantage WP7 has over other Mobile OSes is Xbox Live integration.

    So, "our phone takes less of your time" is a brave, if counter-intuitive, path to take. Will it work? We'll see. I'm saying no. I give WP7 longer than Kin, but less than Zune.
    matthew_maurice
    • RE: Microsoft's goal with Windows Phone 7: Disrupt the category

      @matthew_maurice Variety is one of Android's longterm drawbacks. You will have 50 different models running 5-6 different incompatible versions of Android on devices that have been crippled and mangled by the carriers. Sounds like a winning strategy to me! :-)

      Besides, many of the Android devices are low end anyway because they are so numerous. It's a race to the bottom!
      Tiggster