Microsoft's Desperate Plea for Tablet Acceptance

You have to hand it to Microsoft. The company isn't tucking its tablet tail between its legs or even bowing out of the tablet market gracefully. The day after Microsoft announced a US$900 million write down on unsold Surface inventory, the company released an iPad attack ad to hawk yet another price cut on the Surface RT.

Here, check out the commercial.

Balls. That's what Microsoft has. Big ones. The size of Kentucky, and they're made of gleaming brass lovingly polished by Microserfs.

I've been critical of all of Microsoft product spots and response ads hawking the Surface. The original ones were unclear of their target market and had no clear message. These side-by-side ads like the one above have been ham fisted, clumsy, and push ideas no one cares about. Like John Martellaro asked in Friday's Particle Debris, did you ever see Geordi La Forge with a keyboard on his tablet?

(Digression: On the smartphone side, the only good spot Microsoft did had a message that would only be appreciated by tech partisans who had already made up their minds. At least that one was genuinely funny.)

Friday's commercial is more of the same for Surface, but in light of the enormous debacle the entire Surface experiment has been, it's galling. More so because, as Dan Farber at CNet pointed out, while the commercial features the keyboard, small print at the end says it's $100 extra. And though it's comparing 32GB prices ($599 from Apple, $349 for the write-down Surface), not even the small print notes that only 15GB of that storage is usable by the user.

Whatever. That's the nature of advertising. The thing I found the most appalling was that crack at the end, "Do you still think I'm pretty?" It's mean-spirited and invokes the language of valuing women solely on their looks. It casts Siri as a faded and damaged woman desperately seeking approval from those around her.

In a movie, such a line could well be comedic, tragic, sad, poignant, or even all of those things. In a commercial, it's creepy.

One way or another, it's not going to help Microsoft move the piece of crap called the Surface RT.