Tag Archives: TV

You Talking To Me?

The hundreds of millions of computer users who visit websites every day do so through a web browser. Since the first publicly released browser, Mosaic, in 1991, there have been a few contenders and many also-rans. Browsers have improved and certainly gotten more features.

The current market leader is still Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, but it has been losing share to its chief rival Firefox. These days all browsers are free for the downloading, but do we need another one? How often have you awoken in the middle of the night, worried that your browser may be suboptimal?

Google seems to think so and last year launched its Chrome browser.

Google’s marketing support for Chrome has consisted primarily of quirky short videos on a channel of its popular YouTube portal. Google has extended its advertising to independent properties such as LinkedIn and plans to run ads on TV (via its own AdWords system of course).

These ads, which can resemble mini film festivals, finesse the venerable debate about features versus benefits by ignoring both. This is a campaign targeting early adapters. The message is neither emotional nor rational but, simply tries to associate coolness with the product. These short bursts of creativity evoke the feeling of an independent film competition. If viewers already understand and care about browser issues they may get it; if not it’s interesting eye candy. This if fine if appealing to a niche, but browsers are mass market products.


To date, Chrome remains a footnote. According to data compiled by Statcounter Chrome has a market share of about 1.5%. Like many Google products, it may be forever in Beta (never formally released). The game is still early and there is no shortage of budding filmmakers with edgy ideas.

Advances in computer browsers may be secondary to the main browser war – on the phone – where most of the world will be getting its Internet. Google also has an offering here – the Android browser.

Android’s YouTube promotion is classic technology messaging – watch my benefits or sometimes features or sometimes the engineers who develop Android. Nothing artsy here. This is a market strategically important to Google.

Do you need a new computer browser? Tough to tell based on Google’s marketing, but you might find Chrome’s half minute spot diverting.

Why the Sour Face Gerry?

Microsoft’s new $300 million campaign will be hard to miss. Don’t watch much TV, the ads will be on the net. You can catch them on web properties of MSN as well as YouTube.

The commercials star Gerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates. As such they are newsworthy and get far more exposure than Microsoft has paid for. So far so good, but what is the message, the positioning or even the emotion Microsoft is trying to convey?

As humor, the spot is uneven. Some the dialog such as the parking lot scene where Gerry gushes a bit too reverently about mind melding of Gates’ “Jupiter sized brain” goes nowhere. In contrast to his campaign for American Express, Seinfeld seems a bit out of form.

Microsoft has long been identified with Gates, but the commercials come just as he is leaving active management of the company. Possibly it is an attempt to humanize Microsoft, often referred to by competitors and customers alike as “the evil empire”. The richest man in America is just as cheap as the rest of us, who buy shoes at a mall outlet.

Are you felling better about the Microsoft brand already?