Switched off

In response to Apple, Microsoft started its own “Switch” campaign featuring a freelance writer who ditched a Mac for a PC that runs Windows.
Well, the Associated Press tracked down this freelance writer and found she was a Microsoft PR hack. She said she really did switch. But Microsoft pulled the ad.

The AP tracked her down from the personal metadata Microsoft puts in all Office documents.

Can’t you just see the Apple “Switch” response now?

“Hi. I’m a CIA spy. I got rid of my insecure PC and switched to a Macintosh.”

I always thought the “Switch” campaign was really dumn, but suddenly Microsoft seems to have made it interesting.

7 thoughts on “Switched off

  • October 15, 2002 at 12:33 pm
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    You’d think somebody in Redmond would have known enough to warn her to take precautions…

    Microsoft Knowledge Base Article – Q237361
    HOW TO: Minimize Metadata in Microsoft Word 2000 Documents
    (also contains links to Word97 & Word2002 articles)

    Or she could have used a program called Metadata Assistant.

  • October 15, 2002 at 4:45 pm
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    Unbelieveable. With Microsofts marketing muscle probably being second to none, they still can’t get their ads right. They must be moving people over from OS R&D department over to marketing….

    /Dave T.

  • October 15, 2002 at 4:49 pm
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    What are you talking about? Marketing *is* the MS R&D department…

  • October 15, 2002 at 7:05 pm
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    Wait. Here’s an even better “Switch” ad:

    My PC got me indicted.

    I was the CEO of a high-flying corporation. Then the scandals started flying. The accounting errors showed up. The stock tanked. Some spooks showed up and hauled away my PC. Next thing I knew, I was under arrest.

    I asked on what grounds. They said they found incriminating evidence in Word documents on my office PC.

    So I bought a Mac. And now I’m flying high again. I’m using Mac OS X to run a dotcom out of my prison cell. I’m writing my tell-all book on a Powerbook G4. I’m adding even more to the earnings I’ve already stashed in my offshore accounts.

    And since I’m on a Mac, those spooks won’t see anything I don’t see.

    I switched to cover my butt. You should to.

  • October 15, 2002 at 7:21 pm
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    …you ever think about writing as a career <g>?

  • October 15, 2002 at 8:30 pm
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    It’s a lot worse than that.

    Slashdot had a HUGE thread about this. The picture they used for the ad (the original was GONE from the MS site when I checked, but still cached in google) was also found in some online royalty-free stock photography.

    Everything about the ad was a lie. Then again, this a company that has had its PR hacks get dead people to endorse them, so this is pretty benign in comparison.

  • October 18, 2002 at 11:24 am
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    Now Microsoft is talking about “sanctions” (whatever that means) against the woman in the ad.

    I think the ad campaign in and of itself was a pretty good idea, but it was really poorly executed. If you read the ad copy, everything about it just felt forced. The old Bartles and Jaymes commercials were plain-folks ads like this one was supposed to be, and the two guys in there were complete fiction, but it didn’t leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth.

    Most of the people in Apple’s ads look and sound like morons. Those who do come across as intelligent or semi-intelligent sound like zealots. But then again, so do the people in a lot of pickup truck commercials. (“I’d rather walk than ride in something other than a Ford.”) So maybe those campaigns really work.

    But the person in the Microsoft ad didn’t sound like a zealot. She sounded just plain brainwashed. “The money I saved by buying a laptop that runs Windows XP paid for my copy of Windows XP Professional which has so many extra mobile features that I’m not going to tell you about. Then I spent the rest of the money I saved on Microsoft(R) LobotomyTM, and you should too.”

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