Microsoft Going With Simple Advertising

Let’s face it – Microsoft is not exactly known for great advertising campaigns, specifically when it comes to consumer electronics such as its Zune MP3 player and music store. For several reasons, the iPod has dominated the MP3 market, mainly due to its tight integration with iTunes, and that application’s robust feature set. However, the iPod/iTunes habit is an expensive one, without question, and Microsoft is finally taking advantage of the current economic environment to remind consumers that being an Apple fan is expensive.

Take this latest ad, comparing the Zune and Zune Pass to the latest iPod. Both the 120GB iPod Classic and the 120GB Zune MP3 players are priced at ~$230 on Amazon, currently. The Zune has TONS more features, but we’ll ignore that, for now. In the ad, Microsoft points out – correctly – that in order to load that 120GB iPod Classic up with a full 30,000 songs, it would cost…well…$30,000. Alternatively, the ZunePass is a subscription service that gives you unlimited downloads each month.

Yes, there are several caveats to the ZunePass – DRM-protected, limited device support, etc. However, you could easily argue that most people with an MP3 player are listening to their songs in one of 2 places – on that MP3 player, or on their computer. For a large majority of people purchasing either a 120GB iPod Classic or a 120GB Zune, this comparison is tough to argue with.

I like this ad because it’s loud, but not annoyingly so, and because it’s simple. It doesn’t take much to see the sense in the argument, and there’s a really simple call to action – go check out the Zune. Easy as that. There’s no question left in the viewer’s head as to who the advertiser is or what the promised benefit is. The only real question in my mind is why Microsoft hasn’t released a Zune app for Windows Mobile that allows you to play ZunePass content on your smartphone. What do you think?

Published by rcadden

Just a dude with a phone.

4 thoughts on “Microsoft Going With Simple Advertising

  1. The (not to) subtle implication of this misleading advert is that you can only fill your iPod using music that you’ve purchased from the iTunes Store. This is of course, as even my mum can tell you, complete rubbish!

    “Through the end of 2006, customers purchased a total of 90 million iPods and 2 billion songs from the iTunes store. On average, that’s 22 songs purchased from the iTunes store for each iPod ever sold.

    Today’s most popular iPod holds 1000 songs, and research tells us that the average iPod is nearly full. This means that only 22 out of 1000 songs, or under 3% of the music on the average iPod, is purchased from the iTunes store and protected with a DRM. The remaining 97% of the music is unprotected and playable on any player that can play the open formats. It’s hard to believe that just 3% of the music on the average iPod is enough to lock users into buying only iPods in the future. And since 97% of the music on the average iPod was not purchased from the iTunes store, iPod users are clearly not locked into the iTunes store to acquire their music.”

    You say… “For a large majority of people purchasing either a 120GB iPod Classic or a 120GB Zune, this comparison is tough to argue with.”. I disagree. Most people already have a large collection of music which they have obtained through CD ripping or Torrent downloading. This new MS advert is a waste of time and money, and will have no affect what-so-ever on Zune sales.

    Being an Apple fan is no more expensive than being a Microsoft fan. The iPod Nano is more than a match for any similarly priced MP3 player, and the iPod Touch is without comparison *at any price*.

    I do agree with you however that Microsoft need to roll all the Zune services into Windows Mobile as soon as possible. They are going to need all the big guns they can get their hands on once Mobile OS X, Android and Symbian Foundation hit their stride in 2010/11

  2. The (not to) subtle implication of this misleading advert is that you can only fill your iPod using music that you’ve purchased from the iTunes Store. This is of course, as even my mum can tell you, complete rubbish!

    “Through the end of 2006, customers purchased a total of 90 million iPods and 2 billion songs from the iTunes store. On average, that’s 22 songs purchased from the iTunes store for each iPod ever sold.

    Today’s most popular iPod holds 1000 songs, and research tells us that the average iPod is nearly full. This means that only 22 out of 1000 songs, or under 3% of the music on the average iPod, is purchased from the iTunes store and protected with a DRM. The remaining 97% of the music is unprotected and playable on any player that can play the open formats. It’s hard to believe that just 3% of the music on the average iPod is enough to lock users into buying only iPods in the future. And since 97% of the music on the average iPod was not purchased from the iTunes store, iPod users are clearly not locked into the iTunes store to acquire their music.”

    You say… “For a large majority of people purchasing either a 120GB iPod Classic or a 120GB Zune, this comparison is tough to argue with.”. I disagree. Most people already have a large collection of music which they have obtained through CD ripping or Torrent downloading. This new MS advert is a waste of time and money, and will have no affect what-so-ever on Zune sales.

    Being an Apple fan is no more expensive than being a Microsoft fan. The iPod Nano is more than a match for any similarly priced MP3 player, and the iPod Touch is without comparison *at any price*.

    I do agree with you however that Microsoft need to roll all the Zune services into Windows Mobile as soon as possible. They are going to need all the big guns they can get their hands on once Mobile OS X, Android and Symbian Foundation hit their stride in 2010/11

  3. A fair point, Mr. Burland. However, I would imagine that anyone who’s filled their MP3 player with a decent amount of music would already know they can do that, and thus, would know that the $30,000 isn’t an accurate figure *for them*.

    The point remains, simply, that purchasing 30,000 tracks from iTunes would cost you $30,000, whereas ‘purchasing’ 30,000 tracks from the Zune Store (or whatever they call it) only costs you $14.99/mo.

    It’s a simple ad that prompts you to look more into the Zune option – which is awesome. Some folks (like me) will do so and realize that you’re really only ‘renting’ those tracks, and be turned off. Others won’t care.

    It seems to me that this ad is targeting people who have not yet purchased an MP3 player, but are considering it strongly.

  4. A fair point, Mr. Burland. However, I would imagine that anyone who’s filled their MP3 player with a decent amount of music would already know they can do that, and thus, would know that the $30,000 isn’t an accurate figure *for them*.

    The point remains, simply, that purchasing 30,000 tracks from iTunes would cost you $30,000, whereas ‘purchasing’ 30,000 tracks from the Zune Store (or whatever they call it) only costs you $14.99/mo.

    It’s a simple ad that prompts you to look more into the Zune option – which is awesome. Some folks (like me) will do so and realize that you’re really only ‘renting’ those tracks, and be turned off. Others won’t care.

    It seems to me that this ad is targeting people who have not yet purchased an MP3 player, but are considering it strongly.

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