I Swear I Don’t Understand Microsoft’s Marketing

Microsoft has a new ad campaign for their tablet-laptop hybrid the Surface Pro 3, which compares the device directly to the 13″ MacBook Air. Here’s one of the ads.

Now, of course I get that it wants to show that the Surface is comparable to the MacBook in tech specs so that folks don’t presume it’s an underpowered netbook piece of crap, fine. I won’t get into all of the device’s now well-documented problems and shortcomings. You gotta compare your product favorably to the competition. Fine.

But what’s with the music? It’s not lighthearted, nor is it empowering, it’s just menacing. It tells me that this product is somehow for the combative, or that it’s being pushed as more “macho.” Which is ridiculous. Who wants a computer that seems threatening?

This reminds me of when they first introduced the Surface concept a few years back, and look at this. It’s like they want to scare you with it:

Or when the Motorola Droid was a thing, and to stand out against the iPhone played up this scary, dystopian, hyper-industrial cyborg angle, as though the Droid would leap out of your hand if it was in proximity of an iPhone and try and kill it. Whee!

Contrast that to when Apple introduced the MacBook Air for the first time. Steve Jobs slipped the damn thing out of a manila envelope and grinned. He didn’t then slit someone’s throat with it.

Why do Microsoft and other tech companies want to make their consumer product, ostensibly to be purchased by regular folks, seam so, well, mean? I understand that these are often aimed at a male demographic, but as a male who buys tech gadgets, I don’t want to feel intimidated that my device is going to take my lunch money and stuff me in my locker.

I don’t care for Samsung’s marketing, being too glitzy and smarmy, but at least they want you to like their product as opposed to fear it.

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