Skip to main content

Another Surface Video appears, but what is it all about?

Yesterday another Video appeared on the dedicated Surface YouTube Channel but it dispels with any meaningful message in favour of irritating music and mind bending spins and flips.

The Surface tablet is Microsoft’s first foray into selling its own computer and is designed to go head to head with an army of Android tablets and the seemingly unstoppable Apple iPad. Anticipation for this device amongst many, including staff here at Windows Phone Central has been high and we have written about how much we like it but we aren’t really what you’d call the average consumer. So what is going with the advertising for Surface?

Windows RT combined with Surface is an interesting product, coming with a legacy desktop environment and the new whizz bang Metro UI. Windows RT also comes pre-installed with Office but doesn’t allow any other desktop apps to run there. I have personally been using the device since my pre-order landed and am mostly happy with it, I know it’s not perfect but I can live with the teething issues. While I am fully aware of its limitations and oddities, what will the average consumer make of it especially if the message hasn’t been conveyed properly from the start?

Surface running Windows RT needs a razor-sharp and consistent message delivered to the consumer to educate them on a number of points. Why is this better than a Windows Laptop or Ultrabook? Why should I want a device that doesn’t run the millions of legacy Windows apps? What is this new user interface and why is it any better than the old desktop? These are really important and essential points that need to be covered if Surface has any chance of actually taking off.

There are of course much more sensible videos featured on the site that do attempt to explain the features and more, much much more of that is needed. What is not needed are videos of spinning, flipping, flashing gadgets flying about the screen and snapping and clicking. The Microsoft faithful have likely already bought their Surface tablets and now it’s time to convince everyone to do the same.

Surface is a great product but more importantly Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 are the new way for Microsoft. It's design lanugage and live tiles need more marking to appeal to the general public that have been using static grids of icons for years. If this latest video is anything to go by Microsoft look to be losing their way and I hope that we see a return to more sensible advertising soon.

To add a little more to the confusion about Surface adverts, I have recently been about in London and seen the Surface Graffiti about the place. These adverts are intriguing and could be laying the viral groundwork for a larger campaign, but here in the UK there are no brick and mortar stores in which to run and grab one of these. Buying online is fine for many but not being able to see and touch something is simply going to be a problem.

More should have been done to secure floor space with existing retailers to provide hands on demos to back up the ads.

  • I think it was wise of ms to not compete with their partners in the retail space. I think it's more important for them to create the buzz around these devices and get people into stores to look at all the new Win8 devices and support the brand.
  • +1 - if you all notice - it's the OLD people and government now buying into iPads...
    If you capture the interest of the geek/hip crowd that is thinking beyond Apple... THAT'S the buzz market that eventually drives demand.        
  • Just saw this advert on primetime tv, dancing with the stars. I actually like it. Grabs one's attention. Looks like fun but wait.. It's got Word n Excel? Awesome!
  • This is the problem with the Surface, when a product is really good, the average consumer can tell. People will buy it because it's popular and it will meet their most basic needs. It's not normal for me that it's hard to recommend the Surface RT to the average consumer. This is why I think the Surface won't sell a ton. Now if Microsoft would cut the price by 100$, I think it would greatly increase the visibility of this tablet.
  • From what I heard (from certain employees from a certain company) the surface was supposed to cost $200, but MSFT's OEM's threaten to not support Windows RT if it was priced that low.
  • From a Windows enthusiast perspective, of course I like the Surface because I like the ecosystem. But for the average consumer who needs a good tablet and lots of apps. I don't think it will be the case with the Surface RT.
  • This ad shows off multiple colored keyboards, kick stand, USB ports, Skype, Word, Excel and clear 16:9 display for watching movies and video... That's what I got..
  • Exactly.
  • what I don't  understand is why are they waiting until next year to release the Surface Pro.  They are missing out on all of the holiday purchasing for people who are buying new Win8 phones.  not to mention, people who are looking for tablets.  Talk to any MS person at these stores and they will all tell you that everyone they talk to is waiting for the Pro.  Why are all of the companies waiting on the Pro tablets?  do they all have to wait until MS releases theirs? 
    But I will say, the advertising has been so much better than anything else MS has done.  But they need to show more of what the OS on the phones and tablets can do and less dancing people.  Kids Corner, NFC, Office, ANYTHING.
  • Go back to the main page and scrfoll down about 2 stories from this one. Looks like not everyone is waiting for MS. I think companies are just trying to get some really good hardware to go along with W8 Pro.
  • We already know most of the specs and I fail to see what the big deal is with Pro. As a pure tablet (without pc capabilities), it isn't as good as an iPad. As a laptop, it isn't as good as most laptops for several reasons. As a convertible or hybrid, how is it any better than others and in some important ways not as good as? We know it will be at least $1k. 
  • There's no reason to exclude the "pc capability" because that's the point.
  • The Samsung Ativ S Pro tablet works quite well and certainly worth the price. Being able to install proper desktop applications is important to some people.
  • It was only $699 as well, which is very affordable, the the Surface Pro will likely be $100 more than that.
  • Need to get some apps on this thing and some quality games. 
    Just got ESPN on it finally yesterday. 
    Apps Apps Apps!
  • I've never understood why with as much money as MS has, they don't have one of the best ad & marketing agencies in the country promoting their products. MS has always had crappy ads...remember Bill "powering off" with Jerry Seinfeld? With Apple, we all know that it can be done properly. 
  • I couldn't agree more.  Remember the WP7 ads where they tried to convince you that you should buy WP7 so you could spend less time using your smartphone?  Do they not conduct any focus groups?  Almost anyone buying a smartphone is doing so because they love to play with it.
    MS is once again selling fluff and not focusing on what the product can do.  Apple is great about showing how an iPad will change your world (it won't).  I don't care if my Surface "clicks", I don't care if someone wants to dance because of that.  I want to know that it has real USB ports and show me some of the reasons why that's important.  I want to know a lot about the keyboard.  I want to see how Win8 will rock my world.
    MS's advertising has always sucked and I ask the same question - why don't they hire an innovative ad firm that will produce a campaign that is on message?  Embarrassing (again).
  • Saw this commercial last night on tv. Slick, fun filled, lively ad. Shines a spotlight on fun, color options, being many things and hints of an exciting new interface. Sets a faster tone than the iPad and iPad mini which seem to cater to 3 year old and are devoid of any enthusiasm.
  • You're kidding, right? Apple's ads are miles ahead of this. What you call "fun filled" I call mindless, "slick" is epileptic, and "lively" is childish.
  • It's time to show people WHY they should want a Surface RT. Flashes of this or that draws attention. Surface RT needs show why it's better than the competition.
  • I don't think the ad was to motivate consumers to buy the surface...i think it was put there to create enthusiasm...shining pieces and flashes of light...some may want to check surface now...better get the apps ready before they do it
  • Oooh... Shiney! I like the ad.
  • MSFT should priced this thing 200. And keep RT for them selves.. The 8 pro to the partners.its just too damn expensive.people will buy the iPad..if the price continue to be this way
  • Microsoft didn't need to price it lower, they neeeded to have spec'ed it better. Just putting an Exynos instead of that jurassic Tegra 3 would have made it much more compelling.
  • No more spinning, dancing, or Arnett. People need to see why Surface RT is a must have over its Apple & Android competition.
  • It amazing how cool this thing is yet people will still prefer the iPad which is almost usless compared to the Surface.
  • Well i'm in Australia and work in retail. We get ask daily about the surface. Most people dont pronouce it properly. For the first time, people are asking about it wanting to buy it. Too bad some leading retailer stuffed up on the deal sell it in a bricks and mortar store. Take there partnership with Microsoft for granted.
  • This ad looks a lot like the new ipod nano ad, devices jumping around to music. the fact the music irritates Robert doesn't mean it irritates everyone.
    The ad shows off some of the features of the Surface (the keyboard covers that click in, the widescreen display that's perfect for movies, the office apps)
    not sure why Robert doesn't get it, but that's the kind of ad that's used for this kind of device and it's much better than the first Surface ad that didn't show anything you can do with it except for the click sound
  • What a load of bollox.  Ipads dont run legacy windows apps. People want this thing for browsing on the sofa, the fact that they can do a bit of word processing and spreadsheet tinkering is a bonus.  Surface landed before WP8 and hence lessend my money and need for it.
  • My young sisters say they've watched several times on TV--so that's great, all this exposure is the right move for Microsoft.