Microsoft Retail Store Dancing Video Goes Viral

Microsoft marketing apparatus

Brad Slavin, who owns a San Diego-based search engine optimization firm call Webheat, attracted attention earlier this week with a video he claims to have taken in the Microsoft store in Mission Viejo, Calif., which shows employees dancing in clearly rehearsed fashion to the music of the Black Eyed Peas.

In an interview Thursday with, Slavin said the dancing did indeed appear to be sponteous, although he allowed for the possibility that there may have been some rehearsal involved.

But in a Monday blog post, Slavin said the Microsoft store employees' dancing "did not seem forced or contrived," but rather, appeared to be a genuine outpouring of enthusiasm about Microsoft products. "I would honestly say that this was the staff letting go, having some fun and not taking the brand all too seriously," Slavin wrote in the blog post.

Keep in mind that this was the same Microsoft store where employees, during the grand opening last month, led Microsoft related chants with visitors as they waited to enter the store. So it's certainly possibly that these folks are truly happy about their new jobs, and to be a part of Microsoft. However, in his blog post, Slavin's description of the proceedings sounds for all the world like marketing-speak coming straight from the mothership.

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"From the moment you first step through the door you can feel it, something is special, something is electric in the air," Slavin wrote in the blog post. "Oh, and I just canceled my order for the 27inch iMac quad, I need a little time to think it over."

Understandably, some comments on Slavin's blog have suggested that his video is an example of Microsoft's bumbling use of guerilla marketing. "The whole thing is so obviously orchestrated," wrote one blog visitor. "Congrats Brad, as a result of your post you've managed to make people around the world see your blog as a fake created for the purposes of pushing a Microsoft viral marketing campaign," wrote another.

Of course, this would hardly be surprising given Microsoft's previous gaffes in this area, which include portraying actress Lauren DeLong as a customer in search of a notebook PC in the Laptop Hunters campaign, as well as the fishy Project Mojave, in which a focus group discovered that Windows Vista wasn't actually a horror show. And who can forget Microsoft's hilarious Windows 7 launch party video, which elicited peals of industry laughter that have yet to subside.

Retail is a new front for Microsoft's battle with Apple, and Slavin's video and blog post may be an example of Microsoft digging deep into its bag of marketing tricks to sway public opinion in its favor. Or, as Slavin claims, it could be a sign that Microsoft nailed it on the first try in its second retail store go-round, and has created a truly buzz-worthy shopping experience.