This campaign started out with some ads that, while I would not use the word "good," at least made sense. Actors pretending to be regular users would talk about some feature they'd like in an operating system; there would be a story about how Microsoft put in that feature for them; and the actor would say, "I'm a PC, and Windows 7 was my idea."
You, the viewer, would learn that Windows 7 had that feature, and Microsoft was claiming this is something ordinary joes like you probably want.
"I'm a PC, and Windows 7 zzzzZZZZZZzzzzz..."
Boring, but it made sense.
Both of those qualities were unacceptable to Microsoft, however, and they decided to spice up the ads and disembowel them of their logic.
Windows 7 can be used, for example, to take over the TV from a FPS zombie-killing game your friends are enjoying:
So you can force them to watch a streamed Jacques Cousteau parody video about how zombies are misunderstood.
Because a guy who interrupts your game of Left 4 Dead to make you watch a cutesy concept video is the kind of guy everyone loves and will take product advice from.
"Kids like sharks. Kids like zombies. Let's just put them randomly together in an ad!"
At least the main character, the stand-in for the viewer, is "zany" and "unconventional," and some people like to think of themselves that way. But nobody likes to think of themselves as a sexless loser, which is what this ad calls you:
The average joe Windows 7 user representing you and your needs in this commercial is a guy who is exiled to his dorm's hallway for the entire night because his roommate is getting it on. Maybe he really doesn't care, you think. Hell, maybe he's gay. I don't think so, considering this is his fantasy:
Which really makes it even sadder. Why not just go all the way, Microsoft, and show his roommate walking out, buff and muscular, with a scantily clad woman on each arm carrying his Apple products for him?
There has been a lot of stupid controversy over some Microsoft Kin ads, like an ad where people claimed a boy was taking an upshirt photo of a teen girl and started screaming "SEXTING!" which always gets the media excited (and aroused).
Then there was the series where Microsoft sponsored a teen named Rosa to travel across the country visiting members of her "social network" she keeps in touch with on her Kin phone, causing people to wonder if it was safe and a good idea. If they didn't wonder that, Microsoft actually prompted them to by constantly raising doubts in the narration, asking questions like, "But are they really her friends?"
"Should you REALLY be using our phone?"
But fine, those are goofs, and this is Microsoft, and what can you expect. But then Microsoft made some actual scripted videos where you think they'd have full control over the narrative and could avoid accidental flashing and meet-ups gone wrong.
They took that opportunity to make an ad where a girl uses her Kin to meet up with her sexy young surfer friend...
...and is disappointed to find out he is 40.
And then humiliates him to her Facebook friends.
And an ad where a guy uses his Kin to meet up with an ex-girlfriend only to have an awkward and depressing time together that reminds him of why they broke up.
Yes, the ad really ends on this shot.
The Kin: guaranteed to cause awkward and disappointing encounters! It's simply inexplicable why this phone was pulled after only 48 days on the market.
Complex, yes, but I dare you to think of a better descriptive title after watching this promotional video from 1988 (distributed to lucky Windows retailers).
Although there's no sex in the video, it has a distinctive porno vibe due to the cheesy acting, weird background music and a story nobody cares about that's obviously just there as an excuse for the real point of the video: listing the benefits of Windows 386. Which is almost as good as sex.
Linda, the heroine, starts out by checking in with her secretary, whose exaggerated Southern accent inexplicably changes to that of a 1920s New York gangster moll ("boys and goils").
"No messages, Mista J."
Then she gets a mission assignment on a cassette tape, which self-destructs.
And if you didn't catch the reference, the Mission: Impossible theme song starts playing. Her mission is to stop a wealthy businessman named T-Bone Perkins (probably a reference to T. Boone Pickens, but "T-Bone," really?) from taking over some business or something, and she goes about this by doing some boring office stuff.
Talk, talk, talk. It comes across as a softcore porno that is taking way too long to get to the porno part. But what's this?
Rubbing her hands together deviously? Aha, now that she's alone, she can finally get to...
...rapping. Sample: "W-w-w-windows, w-w-windows three-eighty-six. We'll pull these parts together and do it mighty quick!"
Mind you this was 1988, so it wasn't like rap was some new thing people didn't know how to work yet ("So it's like a song, but you just talk?"). Public Enemy was playing on mainstream radio while this monument to inanity was taping.
As each shot zooms in further and further on her teeth, you can tell she is rapping harder. Soon she raps so hard that...
...her clothes come off. Yay! Nudity! But no. She puts some other clothes on before the camera gets back to her, such as these hot little numbers:
Rrrrowwwr. Finally, her co-worker bursts into the office to find
Would this outfit ever have passed muster in the 80s? I may have been a fashion retard but I feel safe saying, not in '88. You could not have walked down the street wearing that in '88 without being pointed to a soup kitchen or shelter.
This guy digs it though.
He really digs it.
Believe it or not, there is absolutely no sex or anything slightly sexual going on in these shots, other than the look on the guy's face.
Anyway, it's pretty boring from here on out. She puts her office clothes back on, completes her report or whatever, and then gets a standing ovation.
I don't know what for, since none of them read the report or watched her transform into Microsoft's idea of an 80s sex symbol. Maybe it's just a really positive workplace. Or maybe they're just insane, like everyone else in every Microsoft ad.
For more from Christina, check out 6 Reasons It's Time For Matthew McConaughey To Go Away and The 6 Biggest Badasses Who Lived As The Opposite Sex.