In a new spot created by Crispin Porter & Bogusky and directed by Roman Coppola, Microsoft takes an innovative and super-sly approach to negative advertising by attacking the negative advertising of, or at least the ongoing feud between, Apple’s iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy.
By dramatizing Apple and Samsung loyalists as bickering guests at a wedding, Microsoft accomplishes multiple things at once. First, they sidestep the unfavorable perceptions of running a negative campaign by dramatizing Microsoft Lumia 920 users as peaceful bystanders to the fight. So, while Microsoft is really the one on the attack here, Apple and Samsung are the ones throwing the punches. Secondly, the petty nature of the Apple vs. Samsung melee makes those companies seem unsophisticated, childish, and listless, while Microsoft coolly stands apart and above such immaturity. This successfully kills (or at least injures) two birds – two very big birds in Apple and Samsung – with one stone, capitalizing on their competitive insecurities.
While conventional negative campaigning has its well-known disadvantages, Microsoft’s highly inventive take on it may indeed avoid them with total success. Even a very shrewd consumer – who is unlikely to believe that the ad in any way specifically reflects the quality of Microsoft’s particular products – will have to be impressed by such an original and adept take on a difficult form of advertising, and will justifiably attribute progressive thinking to Microsoft as a brand, if not to their specific products as well.
The lesson, here, beyond the specific elements necessary to make a difficult form of campaigning successful, is that every method of campaigning and branding, no matter how old or controversial, has hidden possibilities waiting to be unleashed. People often talk about thinking outside-the-box. It might be a better idea to look inside the box first; if branding and advertising companies dig deep enough, there could be something special waiting inside.