By Raaj Datta
Microsoft has kicked off its marketing campaign for its Surface tablets down on the streets in USA. The latest series of graffiti ads have hit building walls in New York with three tablet outlines that un-mistakenly point to the Surface.
There have been no official comments from Microsoft on the advertisements but taking cues from the past, we know for sure its Microsoft’s work. Back in 2002 when Microsoft launched MSN, graffiti arts depicting the MSN butterfly appeared almost everywhere – walls and even traffic signals. Microsoft again adopted a similar strategy for its Windows Phone 7 in 2010.
This time too, the ads are there but hint at a hidden message and yet again, there’s no mention of price whatsoever. However, the selection of walls does not look random at all. Even the surroundings have been taken care of; the placement of the ads with the surroundings seem like they are complimenting each other. Scripted we might say but very impressive!
What’s with the guerrilla marketing strategy?
Microsoft knows how to get into the subconscious of the people. The Surface tablets are almost two months away from release and that’s also the time when the Apple iPad Mini might ‘surface.’
The Microsoft Surface tablets will land on the shelves on October 26, timed with the release of Windows 8.
Microsoft understands its image in the market and in the minds of the people. With the graffiti ads, it clearly wants to change that notion. A single look at the ads and the surroundings of course, and it doesn’t take long to understand the shift in Microsoft’s outlook from a grumpy to a trendy one.
There’s subtleness in the way Microsoft is competing with the style-quotient of Apple. Microsoft would no longer say – “I’ am a PC” like it said in an advertisement years ago to compete directly against Apple. The particular advertisement boomeranged and went on to become a major embarrassment for Microsoft. Termed as a historical blunder, the “I” went on to help Apple instead. With the current graffiti ads, Microsoft seems to have grown up.
Will the Surface stand up to the iPad challenge?
The 10.6-inch rival to the iPad will duel sales straight with not only the new iPad but also the mini iPad. Microsoft had managed to keep the development of the tablets under wraps right to the day it was unveiled. There has been a delay of around two years compared to the iPad, but the features are appealing.
The Surface tablet is more than an entertainment device. There are two versions of the tablet – one with an ARM-based processor; and the other with an Intel processor that will run Windows 8 Pro and takes corporate users into its fold. There’s obviously no Retina Display for the tablets, but the resolution is good enough to get the job done pretty well.
Meanwhile, all we can say that the graffiti ads are a creative way to get into the minds of the people before the actual ads start appearing on the screen and paper.