The Vista wow becomes a whisper

I wasn’t a big fan of the “Wow” campaign around Windows Vista. But its newest incarnation — “100 Reasons Why Everyone’s So Speechless” — might be even worse.

The new site (which Microsoft officials just told me has been on the Web since January, though I have to admit I never saw until today) lists 100 reasons users should take a closer look at Windows Vista. No. 1 is “It makes using your PC a breeze.” No. 100 is “Because your network is the backbone of your business (Network Diagnostics and Troubleshooting).”

“Seeing Windows Vista for the first time may leave you searching for words. Many people just say ‘Wow.’ Here are 100 reasons why,” the site says.

When Microsoft launched Windows Vista in January, execs knew they needed a succinct way to explain why users should upgrade to the new OS. Not a list of 50 reasons. But something that would roll off the tongue of salesclerks and PC makers in a 30-second pitch.

For a while, Microsoft tried bucketing Vista’s new features into three “C’s”: Clear, Confident and Connected. When asked for just one reason why users should upgrade, company execs, for a while, were emphasizing security.

But now Microsoft’s taken a step backwards and done not a Top 5 or Top 10 list, but a Top 100. Sure, it’s tempting with Apple running around claiming Leopard will have 300 new features, to go for bigger numbers. But sometimes less is more.

We’re heading into the first real holiday season of Vista availability (given that Microsoft missed Holiday 2006 and launched Vista in January 2007). While it’s true that retail is a comparatively small contributor to the 60-million-copies-sold number that Microsoft bandies about for Vista, it’s the part of the market that is most visible to the public. And it’s where Microsoft has taken the biggest hits with Vista so far.

What do you think of the new “Speechless” campaign for Vista? Is it going to dilute further Microsoft’s marketing message? Or do you see some value in it I’m missing?


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