Microsoft’s Viral Video Leads to Virtual Stomach Flu

Viral videos are all the craze these days, with online marketers putting out videos they hope will raise brand awareness and set consumers beating a path to the store, but come on, Microsoft! Does it have to get this viral? At some point, you have to think about what your marketing efforts are going to do to your brand.

So, now that you have seen it, let me ask you a question. Assuming that you are not Firefox, Chrome, Opera, or Safari aficionado; based on this poor woman’s involuntary gastrointestinal revolt against her husband’s evident porn habit, are you more likely to give Internet Explorer 8 a whirl, or is it now firmly connected with the sort of projectile vomiting one associates with frat parties and salmonella? 

Let’s face it, they are definitely building buzz with this video, one of several that can be found on the Microsoft YouTube channel, but is it the right kind of buzz? You know, the kind of buzz where people are actually intrigued by the product rather than by the willingness of the husband to lay there as a mumbling target for his wife’s gastric eruptions. A quick and wholly unscientific survey of my colleagues—most of whom use Firefox anyway and have no plans to change—showed that other than the “yuck factor”, the video was meaningless. 

That is not the reaction you want to your video. It is OK to be funny and entertaining, but you have to have a point that comes across strong and clear. Moreover, that point should be the prime mover of the video, not the comedy you use to illustrate it. No one is going to remember that IE 8 has a feature to hide the browsing history. What they are going to remember is the woman vomiting on her husband, IE 8 equals projectile vomiting. Somehow, I don’t think that is the intended message, much less the effect they intended for their brand.