By Harry McCracken | Monday, June 29, 2009 at 7:54 pm
Internet Explorer 8 is a decent browser, but there’s a new ad for it (showing only online, according to Idsgn, which is where I read about it by way of Daring Fireball) that not only doesn’t make me want to use IE, but has me contemplating going door to door, beseeching my fellow human beings to avoid it.
The commercials star Dean “Former Superman” Cain, and three of them merely suffer from the odd trait–common to about 85 percent of Microsoft ads–of portraying Microsoft customers as being a little less than intelligent, self-respecting grownups. Here are those three:
Okay, so far reasonable people can disagree as to the merits of these ads or lack thereof. But the fourth ad is so disgusting that I don’t want it playing in the same browser tab as my site if I can help it. Here it is–watch only if you have a strong stomach. It’s vile, and makes me think less of Microsoft as a company for having approved it. (Yes, I’m aware that it isn’t aimed at me, and yes, I do have a sense of humor.)
I’m used to browser companies getting a little defensive and telling me that their private-browsing features aren’t all about hiding porn; this commercial seems to say that IE 8’s InPrivate is about porn. Particularly repulsive porn, apparently. It’s quite a long way from “Your Potential. Our Passion.”
Google has run a Chrome ad that’s cryptic but entertaining; Mozilla once had a contest for user-produced Firefox commercials that prompted some genuinely inventive little films. Microsoft’s strategy for convincing people to try IE 8 appears to be…to gross them out. It doesn’t seem like a strategy for success to me, and I hope I’m right.
[UPDATE: I've moved on to wondering whether this is the worst commercial ever made for a tech product. Other candidates welcome...]
[FURTHER UPDATE: Microsoft has killed the ad.]