Why Microsoft’s Self Deprecating IE 10 Ads Are Awesome

Let’s face it. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer in its previous versions has been a really sorry excuse for a browser. It was laggy, poorly thought out and it took extra effort to make sure that your website was working on it, especially when other browsers like Firefox, Opera and Chrome took off. It looked like Microsoft didn’t actually bother about the web. Now, it seems that after many years of not caring, the company is actually acknowledging that it screwed up with IE.

The recent ads for Internet Explorer 10 are a brilliant example to other brands which are languishing in a state of mediocrity. I came across a video a week back which showed Microsoft accepting the fact that IE in its previous versions was a bad product. To most other brands and marketing managers, such an honest admission would be a suicidal move. Actually it isn’t! Take a look at the video below and you will understand why.

The guy in the video represents a tech-savvy user who actually cares a lot about the software he/she uses. If we have to identify that category of people, it would be software geeks, tech savvy students and professionals. Exactly the kind of audience which needs to be convinced about products. They need to be shown the values behind a product and how cool it is. The Microsoft ad does just that. The humility in the approach is a bull’s eye. To many people who came of age during the resurgence of Apple, Microsoft felt like an old and uncool brand which did not innovate enough. The video addresses that beautifully by communicating that Microsoft and IE can indeed be cool, funny and savvy. Ultimately, the video does not actually claim that IE is better than others (as most other brands do!). It ends with an assertion that progress has been made. Microsoft is finally listening and willing to improve the browser. IE 10 has been getting some very good reviews for its functionality but that is secondary. Before they unleash the next version of their browser, they need to convince the people first, especially people who hate it so much.

Today, Gizmodo is reporting other online ads that Microsoft has commissioned for today, the Mayan Apocalypse’s eve. The ads poke fun at IE by saying that the Mayans were actually right and that IE is good now. This is not limited to IE itself. They have also poked fun at Instagram, outrage and opinion showers that are so common on the web these days.

I don’t know about you but I certainly didn’t expect this from Microsoft. This does not mean that I will be buying all that Microsoft releases. I have not owned anything developed by Microsoft since I switched to Linux 4 years back. I am never going to Microsoft’s side because I believe in Open Source values. However, at the same time I feel that these ads have made me look at the brand in a different way. Many people I know are also feeling the same way. Microsoft’s recent focus on design and innovation has made many critics realize that maybe we have hated it a bit too much. The company is willing to innovate, then why not give it a chance and see how it shapes up.

What are your thoughts about their IE ad strategy? Share your views with us.

 Image Source for IE Ads | Gizmodo

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