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For god’s sake Microsoft, kill this ad campaign

“Your potential. Our passion. Our website isn’t working.”

OK, I added the last bit, but if you enter the URL in Microsoft’s current print ads (www.microsoft.com/uk/potential) you get the reassuring message:

The system cannot find the file specified.

You’d have thought someone would check that the URL in the ads actually worked, wouldn’t you?

Luckily it’s not too much of a disaster, because the advert’s not going to persuade any sensible person to check out the site. Microsoft does a lot of things very well, but advertising isn’t one of those things – and the current campaign is particularly bad.

The print ad (similar versions run on TV) shows some kids in a tree house, and a chalk outline of a jet has been superimposed on top of the pic. The copy runs like this:

We see
The King of the Skies

Children dream of flight, to soar. These dreams become their potential. And with the right tools and a little help, they’ll make them more than their passion; they’ll make them their life. This is just one of the infinite possibilities that inspires us to create software that helps you reach your potential.

There’s a PDF of the ad on Microsoft’s web site.

As an indication of how persuasive that ad copy is, I had to refer to it not just to quote it, but halfway through each sentence because my mind had drifted away. It’s nebulous nonsense that says absolutely nothing, but which does so at huge expense. The TV spots are just as bad: something about a school, or something. I can’t remember. There are some other press ads, too. One of them is called “hat”. I can’t remember anything more about it.

For god’s sake, Microsoft, kill the campaign and shoot whoever greenlighted it. And then shoot them again, just to make sure.