As Windows 8 launches across the globe, Microsoft again faces its eternal marketing task: proving Windows is cool. This time, they have brought out the star power, hoping the wattage of music acts Jay-Z and Gwen Stefani will bring an added hip factor to Windows 8 ads.
The upcoming ads, reportedly arriving for the holiday season, will feature the celebrities talking about how they personally use Windows devices. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer keeps using the lingo that that Windows 8 is “reinvented around you.” However, the OS has launched to mixed reviews, prompting the question of whether Windows has really reinvented anything other than its marketing.
Microsoft deserves props for landing a new type of endorser. Jay-Z, in addition to being BFF with the President and husband to Beyonce, has built a billion-dollar empire on trendsetting and innovation in his music and business endeavors. Stefani, former No Doubt front woman and the original 1990s hipster, has largely stopped making music, but retains street cred for her L.A.M.B. clothing line. Mostly, she wears red lipstick, dresses in hammer pants and named her kid Zuma–the exact bohemian image the suits at Microsoft want plastered all over their products.
However, they are facing an uphill battle. Microsoft consistently forgets that no amount of flashy dressing will sell a boring product. While Windows 8 is certainly a makeover in terms of its design (boasting a new tablet-like interface), it still trails far behind Apple in terms of features.
The new ads are likely a marketing rebuttal against Apple, who recently emerged from its best earnings quarter in company history, thanks to the release of the new MacBook line, revamped iMac and iPods, and of course, the iPhone 5. With the recent release of the iPad mini, Apple shows no signs of slowing down for the holiday season.
By enlisting Jay-Z and Stefani, Microsoft hopes to reclaim some of the spotlight, if only by focusing attention away from their products specs.
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