Government // Mobile & Wireless
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4/14/2010
06:24 PM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
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Microsoft Kin Marketing Goes Overboard

Microsoft's new commercial for its Kin mobile phone is so obviously provocative that it could only be planned. It's as if someone in the company's marketing department said, "We have to make sure this phone is not ignored."

Microsoft's new commercial for its Kin mobile phone is so obviously provocative that it could only be planned. It's as if someone in the company's marketing department said, "We have to make sure this phone is not ignored."Thus we have an ad that appears to promote "sexting," the practice of snapping pictures of oneself (or someone else) in various states of undress with one's mobile phone and sending them to friends, enemies, or whomever.

Writing for Consumer Reports' electronics blog, Mike Gikas observes that Microsoft's video "comes uncomfortably close to advocating sexting."

Cue Captain Renault from Casablanca: "I'm shocked, shocked to see anyone make provocative ads."

On the scale of crass to illegal, Microsoft's depiction of a man shooting a picture under his shirt and texting it off doesn't quite rise to the level of cynicism and tastelessness set by Calvin Klein ads in the 1990s.

Great art it's not, but as Microsoft's marketing department might say, "Made you look." Give it a few days of controversy and maybe Microsoft will pull the ad. Mission accomplished.

Really, I have to wonder what took Microsoft so long. Its "I'm a PC" campaign always seemed to me to be too petulant a response to the bashing it's been taking from Apple.

I can't say I completely agree with Microsoft's approach, but at least the company is taking some risks with its marketing.

As Oscar Wilde put it, "The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about."

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