The Internet Explorer 8 Ad Campaign Gives Me Pimples

Usually, my nightmares are about flamingly red-eyed minotaurs and axe-wielding aye-aye’s, or a bastard combination of the two. Right now, they’re about Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8 ad campaign.

“Why?”, you ask — “That’s most peculiar. Surely, no marketing can be that troubling!”. Please, humor me, and take a brief look at this empirical comparison of today’s most popular browsers:

Internet Explorer 8 Comparison ChartChart Copyright © 2009 Microsoft Corporation. Original page.

Even though the check marks are oddly reassuring, I’m sorry Microsoft; the cake you are taking is a lie. That comparison is a grave offense to anyone who has ever used one of the listed alternatives to Internet Explorer, even if only for a few minutes. It’s perfectly okay for a sales pitch to exaggerate a little for greater impact — most people expect it. However, when your points of argument are this abstract and you’re still unable to present a single, true fact, something is off.

But okay — let’s be reasonable. This isn’t the only way Microsoft is winning back Firefox, Chrome and Safari converts, and convincing its existing user base to stay. Here are some other compelling reasons to run Microsoft’s latest and greatest browser:
  • Download IE8, Feed The Hungry — Microsoft donates 8 meals to the hungry per download. The small print states that each download constitutes $1.15. All I want to know is where the guys at Microsoft get their cheeseburgers and curly fries.
  • Use IE8, Find Ten Grand — Guess what. Microsoft buried $10,000 somewhere on the internet, and only Internet Explorer 8 is impressive enough to find them!
  • Download IE8, Get a Nickelback MP3 — This one confuses me a little. I’m not a marketing wiz, but I’m pretty sure that “download X, get Y” campaigns are supposed to be rewarding to the user, too.

I was going to write a small paragraph here, questioning the thinking behind this, but then it occured to me that as long as the target isn’t the computer-savvy demographic (which it clearly isn’t), this probably works — perhaps even pretty well.

A lot of cool things have come out of Microsoft lately, like the ECMA C# and CLI standards and Microsoft Surface. I respect Bing for managing to stand up against Google, too. This ad campaign, however, goes in the proverbial basket with Vista and Millenium.

Subscribe to my RSS feed immediately and:
  • put an end to all suffering in the world ✓
  • score yourself a spot in my will ✓
  • make food obsolete ✓

It’s no wonder this website is one of the world’s highest ranked and supremely most visited. It simply secures the cake ✓

The check mark symbol makes for an excellent replacement of the period ✓

Update: For a slightly more constructive breakdown of the comparison chart, see Busting IE8’s Mythbusting.