Microsoft’s latest Internet Explorer 9 ad is actually pretty good. Unfortunately, whoever did the post-production in it for airing on TV, screwed it up completely.
I’m referring to this ad, which you can watch on YouTube. Looks great, right? Now, watch it on TV.
The television release of the same exact ad, which has been airing for the past few weeks, looks completely white-washed. The white balance is so far off, you can see the black box surrounding the ad. Even the audio sounds like it’s in a tin can.
I thought it was just yet another bad ad from Microsoft, until I saw it on YouTube. Now it just becomes a sad case study in needing to taste what you’re serving. What really surprises me, is that nobody in the thousands of people that work at Microsoft, has seen this ad and called somebody up to complain about it.
When I started penning this post, I didn’t really know what direction to take it. I mean, it’s easy to point out the need to sample ads and report problems. I’ve seen this ad so much though, that this article deserves to be more than just telling you to watch the final cut.
Instead, I think the point of calling this ad out really hammers home how compartmentalized a company can get. Someone on the front lines of the company should be able to sound off about the poor quality of this ad release over-the-air. If you’re a major company, you need to be able to fast-track feedback internally. Make it easy for people in one department to sound off about what’s going on in another.
I cannot fathom for a second that someone on on the Internet Explorer team hasn’t seen that ad on TV and said to themselves “Wow, that looks like it is being played in Windows Media Player 6.0 on a Windows 98 machine, plugged into a composite video out port.” The problem, is unfortunately, that employee doesn’t have any way to sound off it seems.
My only complaint about the ad itself is it doesn’t hammer home the improvements in Internet Explorer 9, versus 8 or what is coming in 10. It reinforces the IE brand, but if you’re running a computer with IE8, you’re going to not take the message that there’s a better version of IE out there. Considering many at work use older IEs, and many at home now use Chrome or Firefox, they could easily miss out on the message. Still, good ad overall, just bad post-production.
Update: Since running this post, Microsoft re-shipped the ad (in repaired form) to broadcasters, and it now looks as good as the web version. Glad someone was listening…