Dear Microsoft, I fixed your social marketing campaign for you

Last week JJ & I stumbled across the Hamburg leg of the Kinect Tour – a Roadshow to promote the new Xbox motion control games system “Kinect” (formerly Project Natal). We impressed by the tech, but less impressed by Microsoft’s attempt to add social media to the experience.

It actually works


Firstly the bit you probably want to know: it’s a cool toy, and it works really well. We played a Mario Kart style cartoon racer, some weird activity adventure thing and JJ put her Poker Face on to dance to meat wearing mentalist Lady Ga Ga. The system responded well, the avatars mapped to what we were doing pretty instantly… it worked. However, I couldn’t help but feel that everything was a demo still, a proof of concept. The release games are still at the “what does thing do?” stage and nothing we saw or talked about seemed overly immersive. But it is a really, really cool toy.


But the marketing is broken 


The second bit, and the bit that really got to me was that Microsoft dropped the ball on the marketing. All that expense, travelling the world in a special trailer made up like someone’s living room, and right at the end they fluffed it. Here’s why:

Do you strip or crunch? A lazy marketer’s guide to social media campaigns

Imagine the following brief: 

Bourbon biscuits want to relaunch to attract new younger consumers; our demographic is dying out and young people are more into fudge brownies from Starbucks, we need to bring Bourbons into the 21st Century.

What’s the betting that agencies will come back with the following campaign:

What we need to do is get young people talking about bourbons in social media, making them advocates for our brand. We can do this by creating a debate about bourbon biscuits. Everyone knows that there are two ways to eat a bourbon biscuit! You can strip off the top part of the sandwich, and then lick off the cream, leaving you with a gammy bit, or you can just crunch in! But which is best?

Our campaign plays on the two ways of eating bourbons and asks people to vote for their favourite on our Facebook page. They will talk about biscuits in the office and eat them. Nom. Chocolate win FTW! But it’s not just young people! Old people use the Internet too – it says so in this graph [they’ll have some powerpoint]. Old folks can vote too plus tell their grandchildren about the first Bourbon they saw after the war. People can put photos on the wall of them having a bourbon with their Granny, and the best will win a prize

OK, I’m starting to get a bit silly, but the point is that “set up two opposing positions about our product to create conversations about our brand” is looking tired. Sorry, Polo, but there’s a hole in your campaign.

Image, CC simonomis