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Let's say I am your average skeptical technology consumer. What do you think might happen if I read media coverage about the launch of a new operating system that seems to gloss over whatever the system does and presume, no doubt, that my jaw will drop and I'll only be able to say "wow" when faced with its wonders....

Hmmm. Yes, more skepticism.
While I have not tested the product or heard any buzz about it from my personal network (which may be telling), I am aware of the launch, and could certainly be influenced by media coverage to check out any such product. So, when I read Beth Snyder Bulik's Ad Age article about the Microsoft Vista launch marketing campaign, and how much money is being put into it ($500 million), I was expecting to get a sense for why this product is such a big deal. But, I didn't (and that was also clearly part of Ms. Bulik's point in the piece).
Apparently, as she noted, it is a bit difficult to explain Vista, so Microsoft folks are hoping to get people to demo the operating system. According to general manager of Windows global communications, John B. Williams, who is quoted in the article (but the following is a paraphrase), it is so incredible that when people do try it, they will not be able to keep themselves from saying "wow."
OK.. so I went to the Vista "Show Us Your Wow" site, and dug around a bit. I still can't figure out what is so different or exciting about it. But, there sure are a lot of opportunities to look at photos that people have submitted to represent their personal "wow" moments (from a close-up of a beautiful woman to an image of surfers waiting for a wave).
Did these people use Vista to post the pictures? Was there something in their "wow" effort that couldn't have been done without Vista? Is there any more backstory to their involvement? I don't see a connection, and I also don't feel a sense of wanting to join the community of photo submitters.
The early adopters for this new system are likely already involved in the beta test, but will this hiiiiigh budget marketing effort compel a lot of other PC-users to give it a go? I'm thinking - not so much (at least not right away, as a lot of people will wait to hear that loud collective "wow").
Tech consumers are all savvy, sophisticated men and women. They can't be told that they will have an over-the-top, stunned, positive response. Rather, a brand must demonstrate its product's relevancy in ways that get people enthused enough so that perhaps "wow" emerges organically. Instead by doing a big-budget launch, predicting "wow" and calling the campaign "wow," it all seems a tad forced and begs the response: Prove it.

Continue reading "When "Wow" Doesn't Come Naturally: Microsoft's Vista Launch" ... Read the full article

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image of Andrea Learned
Andrea Learned is a noted author, blogger, and expert on gender-based consumer behavior. Her current focus is on sustainability from both the consumer and the organizational perspectives. Andrea contributes to the Huffington Post and provides sustainability-focused commentary for Vermont Public Radio.