Windows Phone 7 marketing campaign

Windows Phone 7 is released today in the US. The marketing message is summed up by the company by the question: “Really?” The press release explains:

The phone is being launched into a crowded marketplace, but Microsoft hopes it stands out with features designed “to get you in, and out, and back to life,” Peters said. He said Windows Phone 7 is an antidote to poor smartphone design that keeps people fumbling with their phones as they walk down the block or sit down to dinner with family.

… and the video below shows some funny moments where the (mis)use of a mobile phone leads to unwanted situations.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHlN21ebeak

While I think the marketing message correctly, and with humor, points out some of the issues with the misuse of mobile phones, it doesn’t really make sense. Here is why:

  • Poor product design rarely leads to excessive misuse. Users simply don’t voluntarily use products that are poorly designed. The assumption that competing phones are poorly designed is illogical.
  • Great product design, to the contrary, does invite to more use (sometimes leading to excessive use).
  • The user interface of the Windows Phone 7 start screen does contain more information than app icons, but it is not logical to assume that the excessive use illustrated by stories and video comes from finding out number of unread email, viewing images of Facebook contacts. Instead, it is more likely the case that the users are reading emails, Facebook posts, watching videos or are or are simply using their favorite apps. A Windows Phone 7 user is likely to want to do the same.

So, if the Windows Phone 7 user adopts the same “questionable behavior” (as the press release puts it), what then is really the message in the marketing campaign? Put your phone away? That’s a strange message from a company that makes it money from us using the phones, and actually reminds me of the marketing by the Swedish state owned liquor monopoly “Systembolaget” which markets alcohol saying: “Don’t drink!”.

Strange marketing message aside, I’m looking forward to getting to use a Windows Phone 7 myself. No marketing message in the world beats hands on experience!

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