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November 7, 2013


Marketing – Internet Explorer 11 Anime Ad

by Master Pillow

While Microsoft has always been portrayed as a kind of “Evil Empire” stemming from their previous strong-arm tactics in the 1990s that led them to a landmark anti-trust lawsuit with the US government, the fact remains that under Steve Ballmer the company entered a kind of lost decade where it eventually lost its position as the number one valued tech company.  That doesn’t mean that Microsoft is no longer relevant unless you buy into the” Kool-aid” that Google’s Eric Schmidt often remarks upon but that it now faces threats from virtually all sides as their core businesses are now under threat.

It is somewhat ironic that one of the biggest concerns about that landmark antitrust case revolved around Internet Explorer and how Microsoft basically bludgeoned rival browser, Netscape, into oblivion thereby entrenching IE as the Net’s de facto program.  Flash-forward to 2013 and IE is no longer the behemoth that it once was as Chrome and Firefox have eaten greatly into its marketshare.  Google’s Chrome is now the biggest threat to IE dominance and if trends hold it will eclipse Microsoft’s browser.  In fact, if one takes into account all mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones then Chrome has already claimed the number one browser moniker.

Personally, I use all four major browsers and really do not have a favourite but I can’t help but have a hearty laugh at this new advertisement from Microsoft that attempts to show how IE is better than its competitors.

Microsoft has, by far, one of the worst advertising track records as they just can’t seem to sell their intended vision as easily as, say, Apple Inc.  Back in the 1990s and early 2000s the MAC VS PC ads were incredibly effective in creating the impression amongst consumers that Apple products were not only hip and cool but also better overall and it reinforced this message to the point where regular consumers really believed it to be true.

The only silver lining back then was that it really didn’t affect Microsoft’s percentage of OS marketshare but nowadays is a totally different story.  With PC sales tanking due to the public’s switch to smartphones and tablets, Microsoft has a truly tough job ahead of it in breaking the perception that Windows is a clunky, unhip piece of bloated software.

Microsoft’s ad campaigns vary widely in quality from some effective ads showcasing its Xbox products to some truly oddball moments that just did not click at all with audiences.  Does anyone remember those Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld ads as being anything other than, “weird?”  What about the ads for the original Surface last year that featured dancing teens presumably happy that the Surface had arrived?

Regardless, this new ad for Internet Explorer 11 is a real hoot especially for me considering I am a big anime fan.  It probably won’t be effective whatsoever towards the mainstream consumer but it certainly made me laugh that Microsoft would spend millions of dollars on what is essentially a send-off of the magical girl anime sub-genre personified by shows like Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon.  About the only thing missing in this commercial is the ubiquitous panty shot as the girl transforms into her more “powerful” form but that’s to be expected since Microsoft would hardly want bad press from certain interest groups.

As “fun” as this ad is I really do wonder if this is money well spent as it really only appeals to an incredibly small niche of consumers who intrinsically understand what the magical girl anime genre is all about.  For everyone else it will probably seem totally ludicrous and over-the-top and I can easily see a ton of negative comments thrown at it.

This really is not the first time that a piece of software has been personified in anime form as this is a regular occurrence in Japanese marketing.  This time around we’ve got a cute girl named Inori Aizawa, a seemingly regular girl, who transforms into a super-powered version of Internet Explorer.  Yes, it doesn’t make a lick of sense but in a roundabout way Microsoft has managed to basically poke fun at itself.

If you go to it will redirect you to Inori Aizawa’s Facebook page where she describes “herself” (aka Internet Explorer) in the following way:

“When I was younger, I used to be a clumsy, slow and awkward girl.

However, just like the story of ugly duckling, people told me that I have really matured and changed over the years. I feel confident in my abilities now, and I’m eager to show you what I can do.

Why don’t you get to know me a little better?”

Obviously, there’s a link to download Internet Explorer 11 right after that.  Still, I can’t wait for the inevitable Internet Explorer Pretty Girl Inori Aizawa V.S. Evil Chrome Dominatrix anime series.  We can only dream.

© 2013 The Galactic Pillow

Marketing – Internet Explorer 11 Anime Ad


2 Comments Post a comment
  1. ViviAn
    Nov 7 2013

    That’s different, never thought of it as something that Microsoft would do. I think the anime niche is too small for this ad to be relevant. Let’s see what the new IE can do. Transform into a cute young girl? Hmmm, that is so NOT a good fetish.

    • Master Pillow
      Nov 7 2013

      Instead of making an ad extolling the positives of IE over its competition Microsoft decides to use Magical Girls. Well, it certainly is original although it really is only going to appeal to those who know anime and the magical girl sub-genre. For everyone else I’m sure they are going to be scratching their heads wondering how it relates to Microsoft having a better browser. Still, at least it is better than watching Bill Gates attempt to converse with Jerry Seinfeld for no apparent reason.


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