Target: Creative Kids
The spot features a girl talking about breakups and the creative process as animation and near-animation enhance her thoughts. She says “breakups are the best” and goes on to explain that she’ll write about the bad relationship and then record it. Ends with the tagline “Start Something” a reference to software and devices that run on Windows and the Microsoft logo.
I am blogging this spot because this new “Start Something” campaign moves a step forward from the “Your Potential. Our Passion.” campaign which I have previously blogged. This campaign comes a lot closer to being the type of empowering but specific advertising Microsoft really needs. In fact, it is missing only one critical piece.
Where it succeeds is in being more specific about the type of passion that can be aided in a context where software being part of the solution is believable. Microsoft shows us a new world, one that is evolving before our eyes. In the old world, the teenage girl is rejected and bottles up her feelings, perhaps confiding in a journal or a friend. In the new world, thanks to inexpensive recording and mixing software, she writes angry songs, records and mixes them in her garage and then perhaps becomes the next Alanis Morisette.
This spot is crisp, lively and engaging. The animations are spot-on and the promise that is being made to the consumer is not only empowering (as the earlier “Your Potential. Our Passion.” spots and print ads were) but also specific. This time we see how Microsoft might actually play a role in getting us to that better world we would like to inhabit.
Microsoft stops short of the goal line here, abruptly ending with “Start Something Loud. Start Anything You Like” and the logo. There is no reason why, no permission to believe that links this relevant promise to a specific piece of software and explains why Microsoft is uniquely able to deliver this benefit of home recording. Thus the promise is made by Microsoft and it is a relevant promise, but it is not met with a specific, compelling reason for the consumer to care specifically about Microsoft.
In fact, this leads to the second problem with this ad – ownability. The creative is great, but style is distinctly Apple-esque, as if the creative director really wanted to shoot a spot for the iPod, but was stuck with Microsoft as his client. It is more likely an homage to the kinetic Apple style of advertising, but it is a dangerous one for Microsoft as Apple really owns this executional style.
It might be easier to overlook this if Microsoft did any branding in the early part of the spot, but we’re left to wonder about the brand until the end of the spot by which time we’ve concluded it must be Apple.
Branding Bottom Line -
A near-miss by Microsoft. What could have been a home run veers into foul territory.