Microsoft’s spending hundreds of millions of dollars promoting Windows Phone 7 this holiday season, but in my personal experience nobody’s heard of the platform. I’m not talking about geeks and people that read sites like GottaBeMobile, I’m talking about normal consumers that buy some technology every once in a while.
I saw dozens of family members and several friends over the past week for the holiday festivities and answered the usual barrage of tech questions. It’s become somewhat of a ritual: “Why isn’t Adobe Photoshop activating on my new computer? When is Apple coming out with an iPhone for Verizon? Is Apple going to have a new iPad for Christmas? What’s the coolest gadget this year? What’s that XBox thing that says you are the controller? Is the MacBook Air really that good? Can you come over and fix my computer? What’s the best camera? Did you buy a Google phone yet? Any good Black Friday deals? ” You get the idea…
In the sea of questions from my family and friends there wasn’t a single question about Windows Phone 7. Despite being bombarded with Windows Phone 7 ads since our own San Francisco Giants were in the playoffs, not a single person wondered what the deal was with that phone that let you get on with your life…
I’ve sat and watched that ad with several of my family members. They all laughed and several of them pointed out that I could’ve starred in the commercial since I use my phone a little too much. While the ads are making people laugh, they’re not raising awareness of the products they’re promoting to the general consumer. There’ nothing about these ads that make people want to rush out and and take a look at a Windows Phone 7 device, much less buy one.
“Yeah…some people are Crackberry addicts. They need to put their phones down!,” exclaimed one of my relatives when she saw the above ad a couple of weeks ago.
These ads are produced very well, in fact they’re some of the best I’ve seen come out of Redmond in recent years. But the whole ‘It’s time for a phone to save us from our phones’ tag line is falling on deaf ears. Apparently, a lot of people like their smartphones and really don’t want to be ‘saved’ from them.
Another major problem with these ads is that they don’t actually show the phones that Microsoft is trying to sell, or what they can do.
AT&T is pushing out ads that show off some features, but that’s the problem. Rather than showing the device as a holistic ‘do everything’ device, AT&T’s showing off single features, such as speakers. That’s how you sell feature phones, not a whole new platform.
Compare the Windows Phone 7 ads to those of the EVO 4G and the iPhone 4 and it’s no wonder why my friends and relatives already had those devices in their pockets…
Apparently, Microsoft isn’t too proud of its Windows Phone 7 sales thus far, otherwise it would have told everyone about them, just like it bragged that it sold 2.5 million XBOX Kinnect sensors in less than a month.
It’s still early in the Windows Phone 7 game, but Microsoft needs to do something different here if it hopes to get on consumers’ Christmas lists.