Microsoft Ad For Surface Pro 3 Compared To Video Equivalent Of An Ugly Holiday Sweater, But Makes A Point

I've been pretty critical of Microsoft's advertising campaigns, including the ones featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates several years ago. They lacked the wit and amusement of Apple's "Mac vs PC" ads at the time, and more importantly, they didn't convey a clear message like Apple did, even if that message was blatantly misguided. However, I'm not so disapproving of Microsoft's newest Surface Pro 3 ad that's running this holiday season, despite the criticism it's receiving.

You may have seen it on television already, and if not, check out the 30-second spot below. In it, Microsoft compares the merits of the Surface Pro 3 to that of a MacBook Pro while changing the words to Winter Wonderland. Have a look:

Surface Pro 3 and MacBook Air

The folks at BGR called it a "tormenting" ad and also Microsoft's "most annoying Surface ad ever," while questioning something I've often pondered myself -- "how Microsoft can be so completely inept at marketing?"

Though I've wondered the same thing on more than one occasion, this isn't one of those times. The holiday jingle is appropriate, given that we're heading into the Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanza or whatever holiday season you celebrate (or simply winter), and having the MacBook Pro guy sing his part in a gruff, inferior voice ads a bit of humor -- a necessity for a successful ad, in my ever-so-humble opinion.

It's funnier than watching Seinfeld shop for shoes, and it has a point. Several, actually. One of Microsoft's early problems with the Surface was how to market the the hybrid device to consumers -- is it a tablet or a notebook? Mainstream consumers couldn't grasp what the point of the Surface was, and that was largely Microsoft's fault. Even Microsoft didn't know what it was at first, hence Surface RT.

Now in its third generation, Microsoft has finally figured out a pitch that makes sense -- it's a tablet that can replace your laptop. The latest ad is one of the few recent ones that doesn't come right out and say that, but it does show it, while highlighting its advantages over a MacBook Pro.


The ad demonstrates that the Surface Pro 3 boasts pen support, has a touchscreen, can be detached from the keyboard to use as a tablet, is just as powerful as the MacBook Air, can accommodate USB peripherals, and features a kickstand. That's a win in my book, though not everyone agrees. In fact, many don't.

"This ad is in some ways like an ugly Christmas sweater in video form- you get all the good ol' elements of Christmas; it makes you cringe so hard but it's good enough to get you in the festive mood. Except this ad is not good at all," someone commented on the ad's YouTube video.

There are quite few disparaging remarks, along with a high number of dislikes (711, versus 1,360 likes). I find that interesting, given that I feel this is one of Microsoft's better advertising attempts.

Where do you fall with the ad? Is it cringe-worthy like a stale fruitcake, or is this a case where haters are simply going to hate?

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