Microsoft is taking some heat for its new Windows Phone 7 television commercial, which depicts a series of mobile device users tapping and staring at their smartphone screens while completely ignoring the everyday events taking place around them.
By highlighting this all-too-common mobile behavior, Microsoft is taking a risk. The message is that Windows Phone 7 displays pertinent information in such an easily accessible way that people won't look like idiots with eyes perpetually glued to device screens. But one could argue that if Windows Phone 7 is so compelling, people will spend even more time with their devices instead of actually engaging in real world experiences with other humans.
But despite the potential for cognitive dissonance, many Microsoft partners believe the Windows Phone 7 ad, which includes the taglines "Designed to get you in, and out, and back to life" and "It's time for a phone to save us from our phones," is exactly the type of message Microsoft needs to be sending as it tries to differentiate Windows Phone 7 in an increasingly crowded mobile market.
"The ad sends a strong message and really highlights Microsoft's view that Windows Phone 7 is different and that people will interact differently with it," said Clinton Fitch, a Dallas-based Microsoft Windows Mobile MVP (Most Valuable Professional). "I think this could pay off nicely for Microsoft in the long term because it is so focused."
In the ad, Microsoft is playing up Live Tiles, user interface elements that feed real-time data from the Web for information such as e-mails, social networking feeds, calendar and photos. Live Tiles are the first thing Windows Phone 7 users see when they fire up their devices and, more importantly, they also represent a complete break from the clunky Windows Mobile user interface.
Next: Why Partners Think The Ad Makes Sense