I have been thinking a lot about the launch video for the new Microsoft Surface. (Now, full disclosure, though our company does do work for Microsoft, we have not been involved with the Surface.) I found the Daft Punk-inspired video to be visually appealing – beautifully shot, well edited – and entirely uncompelling. And this is why.
First, the video showcases all the features of the Surface – it has a kickstand, and a magnetically attached keyboard, and ports you can plug things into… Watching the video (and wondering if the underlying marketing strategy was, “iPads don’t have this!”) I kept thinking, SO WHAT. All these features may or may not be great, but they are beside the point. Consumers aren’t going to buy the Surface because it has a kickstand. Or a keyboard on the cover. Or data ports. It is our opinion that consumers aren't going to buy the Surface based on features. They’re going to buy it because of what it enables them to do BETTER.
And that brings me to the more significant disappointment I had with the launch video – and that’s the absence of people. Watching the video offers zero insight into how the Surface will improve the lives of those who buy it - which is what marketing is all about. The result? No emotional connections with the consumer. Which, as you know, is kind of a big thing with us. This video should have been loaded with people interacting with the device. Want to showcase the kickstand? Show a 2 year old standing the tablet up to watch Barney or maybe a home video on the Surface of a 2 year using the kickstand... Want to demonstrate the keyboard? Show how the intimate tablet suddenly becomes a data workhorse at the click of a keyboard. Or show how it enables people to play console games in a new way. There are countless ways that this video could have built an emotional connection with consumers while showing people why they NEED the surface - because, let's face it, who really NEEDS an iPad?! - but Microsoft hasn't shown us that story yet. I hope they do soon or the Surface runs the risk of becoming the butt of a lot of bad tire track jokes.