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Microsoft finally has a compelling Windows Phone ad, makes fun of Samsung and Apple rivalry

Microsoft has often been criticized for not making effective commercials—something we think that has changed recently with the Surface campaign (and back stepped with ‘Scroogled’). But what about Windows Phone? We’ve seen some interesting ones in the past but nothing that could potentially go viral (or not be cringe worthy).

That may have all just changed as a new YouTube ad has gone live on the Windows Phone channel and if this doesn’t raise consumer curiosity, we’re not sure what will.

The theme is a wedding with two sides: one audience is Apple’s iPhone and the other Samsung’s Galaxy series fans. The opposing camps begin teasing each other, poking fun at Samsung’s “giant phone” and the iPhone trend of being for our most senior adults. They soon start an all-out fight, throwing common barbs at each other in the process such as “is there an app for that!” and the NFC “boing” thing.

In the midst of the fighting are two wedding workers standing casually in all the chaos, taking photos and video of the ensuing melee with their highly visible red and yellow Lumia 920s.

Oh no she didn't!

The slogan? Don’t fight. Switch.

Dare we say we think Microsoft may have finally carved out a solid middle ground between the two sides. The ad is entertaining, sidesplitting and has a clear message. They even toss in the Engadget Reader’s Choice award at the end for extra validation. Even the color balance is perfect with the boring greys and blacks for the opposing phones while the Lumia shines in bright red and yellow.

Kudos, Microsoft. Now let us pray they actually put this on TV.

Update: It will begin airing on TV tonight!

Source: Windows Phone BlogYouTube

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • So... while Samsung and Apple battle for supremacy, Nokia is left out spectating from the sidelines? That's what this ad says to me.
    Ignoring that, what does this ad do to convince people to switch to Lumia?
  • It tells u that the battle between the two companies is childish
  • Yeah, I like that point of it,but to be honest it should of showed off some of the features the other OS's use. It was a perfect time to show NFC Capabilities, built in bing search, and other apps just like the oter companies were using. They kinda just sat there like "ehh whatever." wouldn't have mattered if the lumias were replaced by a jitterbug. Nothing would have changed the ad.
  • Most people don't care about capabilities. The vast majority of buyers are replacing feature phones and just like that they can search the web, write emails, and take photos/video. Outside of that it is just apps and popularity.
  • Everyone who ask me about WP asked either one of two questions, and I believe they are sencere.
    1. Does WP has app like the iPhone?
    2. How many apps does it has?
    Microsoft needs to educate the general public about WP basic.
    Well, from experience I can say that most of the times the answer to question (1) is "Yes, there is." or "It's integrated in the OS so you don't need one."
    Question (2) is just plain stupid regardless of the word you put in the place of "app" and it is based solely on the greediness of people. An OS might have a million apps and still lack the one app you need.
    In my case, the only app I haven't been able to find on both Android and WP is an alternative to iMovie.
    There are several levels of usage (basic user, power user, geek, etc.) and 90% are basic users who use only 4-5 features and don't install anything out of fear they might break something.
    They don't care about OS features but how does the device look when you put it on the table, its color, size and weight. Like most of the times you ask someone what car they have, they will answer "Blue."
    The readers of this (and any other) forum represent a negligible percent of the market and no company will base its marketing strategy based on what they see here.
  • App selection is important to many people. I do not have a scientific survey to back it up, but of all my coworkers who have a smart-phone (all but one in an office of more than 100) I have yet to hear of one person say “I sure overpaid for this phone since I never use apps.” In my family I have yet to hear someone say, “I bought a GIII so I could surf the web, but check my g-mail and update Facebook at home on my desktop.” Web surfing (show rooming - before it had that name) is THE reason my wife upgraded from a feature phone to an HD7 in Nov '10. We dutifully maximized usage from our HD7s for over two years. Exchange, Office, the People Hub, some cool games - all great implementations for our first smartphones. But the app gap remained. In January she went to an iPhone 5 and I went to a L920. I loved my L920 (yes it is huge - compared to the svelte iPhone 5). When I saw that MLB and my bank were not making apps for WP8, after having WP7 versions, I took it back and got an iPhone. The app gap is real, while not a wide as it was – but the perception is still there. The app gap perception, and perception is reality, does sway which phone people purchase – whether you think so or not.
    (WinPhone refugee with an iPhone due to the app gap)
  • Thanks for the good reply.
    I agree that in one of the 10 major countries apps do make a difference. As you say, your bank, MLB, NBA, etc. all make apps. In Eastern Europe though we are far from such appization and therefore we tend not to see this big gap.
    I currently have an HTC Trophy (WP 7.8) and a company iPhone 4S. I use the Trophy for almost everything I need. The only apps I am using on the iPhone are Waze (and I hope they will be getting it to WP soon as some news said) and iMovie, for which I haven't found a replacement. I will also be getting an L920 unless I see something interesting at Nokia's event in May.
    Regarding the size, I have big hands and the L920 fits perfectly, the weight is also good. The first time I picked up an iPhone 5 I was going to throw it. This phone was meant for either women or skinny men. If the company ever changes to iPhone 5's I will ask to keep the 4S.
    And the way I see it is that the more people use WP, more reason the companies will have to make apps. And the fact that WP's market share is growing is a good sign, speacially because it is getting the feature phone market, which I believe is still larger than the smartphone market. So there is great opportunity.
  • I agree too because I know way too many people with smart phones who dont know half the capabilites of the device, for me its annoying because youre sheep. 
  • So true
  • (Longest first thread EVER)
    *signing out*
  • Is that not the reality? I mean, what should it say..."we're number 1, you just don't know it yet 'cause you're stupid"?
  • Yea, it is the reality right now. I'm just wondering why the went with this ad instead of something that shows off unique WP8 features. It's an entertaining ad though.
  • Because this is way more entertaining? I mean, just because they do this ad it doesn't preclude them from doing one that "focuses on features". But here's the thing...most consumers don't actually care about features. They care about apps, price, the look and if it's cool. Feature lists are for tech blogs aka the minority. In 2013 the truth of the matter is iOS, Android and Windows Phone are all excellent OSs with nearly the same features. They need a different angle to sell, get attention.
  • Having an entertaining ad is always good... It keeps the viewer's attention. 
    I think most consumers do care about features though. It's what makes or breaks a device. Apps are important too, but I'd think that the average consumer sees apps and features as pretty much the same thing.
    "In 2013 the truth of the matter is iOS, Android and Windows Phone are all excellent OSs with nearly the same features. They need a different angle to sell, get attention."
    Yes, I definitely agree with this. All this ad does is remind people that WP exists. I hope future commercials focus on the "Why should I switch?" aspect.
  • Consumers might think that certain features sound good, but if you go up to the average user a month after they got the phone and asked if they used a feature or even know how to use the features, I think you would find many people never used many of the features and don't even know they exist. From my small sample, I know many people who don't know half the features on the iphone and that is the easiest to use os of the 3. Many people just don't take the time to browse though the settings to see what is available.
  • I agree wholeheartedly.  Even those who use Apple products don't even know the type of features are on their phones.  It's pretty amazing.  The reason those said people have an iPhone is because they have been told it's the best product and everyone else has one seemingly.
  • I agree with this 100%. I read android central, imore, wpc, and crackberry. I'm an iOS kind of guy. It's what I like. One of my coworkers was blabbing about his iPhone on how he wishes it had an EQ for his music. So I gladly showed him how to access the EQ through the settings.    Simple things like that people in the norm just don't take the time to look through settings. They just want something that works out of the box.
  • Yup. People want entertainment, not a history lesson.
  • It's a well done, entertaining ad. But consider this: The first thing you see is a bunch of iPhone 5's being raised then a cooler looking crowd saying how awesome the S3 is while demonstrating the tap-to-share NFC technology. Windows Phone gets a sliver of screen time, just like most all their other ads. Memorable, yes. Compelling enough to get someone to buy a Windows Phone? Not really.
  • Agree.. the hardware/software is getting very similar so that's the "Cool" factor that sell.
  • Exactly. We ramble on about features this and features that but people want to know what they are using is the cool thing to use. I actually thought the "this is for the music lover, the ...." commercials should have been pushed more as it speaks to who you are and the fact that Windows Phone has apps that you'll love.
    I'm glad this will be airing as I love it as a broadcast advert.
    I also like that Microsoft is acknowledging their current place in the market relative to Android and the iPhone but still make sure people know you are there and present themselves as a viable option. Bonus point is the exclusion of BlackBerry (their chief rival for 3rd place).
  • Wazap Daniel :D
  • Very true! Only the minority care about the details
  • +1 spot on Daniel. I have to tell this to specTards all the time. Soccer mom does not care about PPI or Front Facing Camera. She cares what colour it is, what the size is etc. My GF broke her 820, and loves this Android 2.3 Alcatel (50 bucks) phone she got as a temporary replacement. Why? Cos its small, and makes nice sounds <face palm>
    We forget sometimes that us nerds (including myself) are not Mr and Mrs Average consumer.
    This ad makes people think about their deep seated bias and stupid/childish brand loyalty to the point of argumet. After all, they are just phones. Great post WPCentral.
  • Lol "Mr. & Mrs. Average Consumer". +1 sir ;)
  • I agree
  • +1 Enough ads trying to get a laugh at the competition. We need more commercials of the phones up close showing off all the features. And not just rapid blurry shots of them with a dub step track in the background. If people have never used the OS before, they can't make out what the hell is being done with the phone. That is one thing that apple does right. Hopefully they get it soon.
  • Some people won't be happy until there's an hour long infomercial. You can't do everything in 30 seconds and these feature ads you guys describe would be BORING.
  • You want features? Here you go. Adverts of this sort REALLY don't work! 30 seconds is too little
  • I would suggest they have already done that and I fully expect them to continue. The most obvious example being the smoked adverts that eventually went mainstream.
  • lol, well put; regardless its a great ad, one of the better ones I've seen from MS, thank god its not another annoying surface dancing ad, just can't stand those.
  • Agree 100%, the Surface adds are horrible and make me want to change channels.
  • It showed off two features one from Android and one on the IPhone but it didn't show off any of the WP8 features...
    None the less its a funny add.
  • You mean Voice Search and NFC?  Both features on Windows Phone?
  • Just one question... isn't this a Nokia add and not a Microsoft one? I thought the "#timetoswitch capaign was Nokia's, not Microsoft's.
  • far from it, while DUMBASSES are fighting it out, you can look like a NORMAL person with your 920...not a fanboy.
    I actually dread the day Windows Phones are too common enough to not be alternative.  Being different has its priviledges.
  • Is this ad not for normal people anyway? The whole "fanboy" thing doesn't exist outside of our little circle of tech enthusiasts.
    Also, to be fair, all sides have their fanboys and normal people.
  • Did Samsung not make headlines by making fun of Apple fans waiting in line? That was their whole angle...attack the iPhone and their fan's irrational devotion. It worked, too. So I disagree with the "fanboy thing doesn't exist outside of our little circle" line. It definitely resonates.
  • I couldn't agree more. This ad doesn't show off the features of WP8, but it does show consumers that there is an alternative. I think Microsoft did a great job showing that there's more than 2 premium OS's in the mobile market and their OS is just as good   or even better than than the other 2. 
  • Don't be so uppity. You don't have to be self-declared "tech enthusiast" to be interested in tech or to be a fanboy.
  • "The whole "fanboy" thing doesn't exist outside of our little circle of tech enthusiasts." Really?  Ask your average iPhone user if they would be objective enough to consider a Samsung or a Nokia purchase.  That was the whole point we struggled to make for the last few years:  There are alternatives that have more features and capabilities.  I own a Samsung presently, but am in no way a fanboy.  Android is my preference, but I don't get upset that people use Apple products or think that I am better than them because of our respective choices; it does a fine job.  What gets me and others is the smug and dumb perception from clueless fanboys on that side that refuse to even try or consider anything else and concurrently have no clue about how to use their precious devices to do anything but text, facebook, and make phone calls. But I understand the loyalty.   They are just scared to venture away from what they know just works and what their friends use.  To an extent, the smugness of certain Apple users comes from having found a legit product that just works and isn't a maintenance nightmare like the MS core product line that people have to endure at work.  They love the simpleton interface and trust them. Microsoft products are historically masochistic and unreiable to use, requiring lots of third party software and IT nerds like me just to perform daily operations.  No one wants that kind of hassle in a personal communications device.  If the new WP is breaking that mold in some way, that is what they must demonstrate. I thoroughly enjoyed the ad BTW.  :)  Best MS product commercial to date.
  • I didn't see the compelling argument for Windows Phone either and I'm a huge fan.
  • That's because there is no perfect ad. I have never seen a commercial that everyone agrees sells the phone perfectly. You can't point out your competition's flaws and your strengths and be entertaining in a 30 or 60 spot. Regardless, I guarantee the overwhelming majority will approve of this ad, which is really all that counts.
  • Dan I wouldn't bother trying to explain it. They just don't get that it was a fun ad.
  • Daniel, I guess what people would rather see is the same tired monotone, hipster voice touting ios "features" (that have been on many mobile devies for years now) over an annoying little piano tune playing in the background.
    Microsoft has actually covered the angles that some of these people are crying about. But they seem to have short term memory when MS gives them what they say they want.
    Here's a few of 'em.
  • Agree, The ad  is great and accompished  what it set out to do, I have noticed approval of this ad even from bloggers that have been  very critical of anything MS,,
    Just read this from Joe Wilcox over at betanews
    "Lumia 920 Windows Phone commercial is the best tech ad in YEARS"
  • Or you can be like Apple, ignore your competitors completely in your ads, talk about what their hardware does for  you the customer, and then make more money than every other smartphone maker on earth combined. That's a pretty winning strategy.
  • The way I see it is this way. Apple ignored the competition with the Iphone but not with the Mac. Why? Because they were the underdogs. If you are the leader of the pack there's no need to attack the pack you just have to watch your back but if you want to be the leader you have to take him down right?
  • From the way I see it an ad about a large share (Samsung vs Apple) ad is one thing - an ad where you're trying to be the third offering only highlights the fact that you have very poor market share.  HTC is now having that problem with both WP8 and Android - it has come up with two superbly designed phones - the 8X and the One - and can't make up any ground in WP8 against Nokia and in Android against Samsung.  People who buy iPhones ( I don't see what people see in them BUT I have a lot of friends that have them and love them) buy them because their friends have them and want to have the same apps - whether it's iMessage, Words with Friends, Instagram or something other new app I see them using the same apps as their friends to instant message, play online games, or share something.  Apple also has VERY high customer loyalty (I've seen some studies with upwards of 91%) and even Android has upwards of 76% loyalty it's hard to see where WP8 gets market share.  As for the apps thing the longer people are with a particular platform the bigger the investment in time learning the OS (think back to DOS vs the Mac Graphical interface) and money in apps (who wants to repurchase apps you've already paid for) the harder it is to find switchers.  Finally, this add spends more time on Apple/Samsung where people that already have these will say to themselves "Oh, it's not like this on my phone" becasue people will rarely admit they bought the wrong expensive product (especially if it has a 2 year contract with a $350 ETF). JMHO.
  • The only thing this ad says is "Hey, we (Nokia) have phones too!". I guess it's a nice reminder for the people who may not realize that WP8 exists. Looking forward to more commercials that show off the uniqueness of WP.
  • But isn't that the purpose of advertisements?  Nokia is TRYING to gain relevance in the market.  This ad shows exactly that! What unique features would they show off besides the live tiles?  WP does pretty much the same like every OS in a minimalistic way.  They could show off the OIS and low light and rich recording feats in the 920, but then again...the HTC One is "nearly" on par with it already and contains these feats already. 
  • Ads don't produce "compelling arguments" unless they're PSAs. Learn how advertising works. It's about building brand identity and brand relationships. That's what this ad is doing.
  • +1 well said
  • Really?  Because Apple seems to have had quite a bit of success showing simple demonstrations of how their products work.  Even when they are demonstrating features that competitors have had for years or with limited pratical value.  It's been the cornerstone of their marketing efforts.  You can't build identity when people have no clue what you're offering.  Like the Surface dances, these ads are fine as supplementary ads and may generate some casual interest, but they fail miserably as a primary campaign because they don't give people any practical reason to buy the product. 
  • Apple doesn't do stupid childish crap like showing people fighting in a room. They show you how the phone works, and how it affects the person using it. That's why they make more profit than any other company on Earth that sells smartphones. They speak to the customer directly, and show them what it does for them without getting into boring details. This? This is just stupidity trying to pose as superiority. It does nothing for the brand, and is completely forgettable because customers don't care what the other side does, they care what they product being shown does.
  • But you're assuming that those ads were what gave Apple a presence in consumer mindshare. What about those Mac vs. PC advertisements, that was Apple's true cornerstone in building its brand image - which had carried through to the iPhone and iPad. People understood that Apple products were GOOD, and the informative ads just fed into that initial Mac > PC premise.
  • That's true, but they showed the disadvantages of the PC compared to the Mac while being humorous. This doesn't. It just shows people fighting, yet doesn't show how WP8 is better, or even different. Just that it exists amongst all the fighting between two companies that make phones, and only one that makes an OS. Maybe they'll follow up with more informative ads while being funny, but starting off highlighting the two strongest competitors while doing nothing to promote your brand as their first shot doesn't do anything for them. People are going to focus on the Apple/Samsung fight and what it means rather than seeing Microsoft showing them something that neither companies offer. Time will tell, but highlighting Smasung and Apple while showing nothing about your brand is just free advertising for those two and not Nokia/Microsoft.
  • +1
    This ad was designed to make people laugh and remember the colorful lumia's the two on lookers were using. The more the commercial shows off features and stays monotone the less the average consumer will remember what it was about. Consumers will walk into att or verizon and say "oh! That's the phone that was in that one commercial about the old guy asking his phone about karate."
  • That wasn't really the focus of this ad. It was designed to get a laugh with the subtext that Windows Phone users are the only adults in the room. I'm not sure how many WP converts it will produce but hopefully the commercial will go viral and get noticed.
  • I see a compelling argument to check it out. The device and start screen are show to be attractive and cool and they are being used by two people who are attractive and cool.
  • To me that's not supremacy... That's investing in companys that limit you to what they want to give you...i haven't really experienced that so far with my windows phone...ive gotten everything on my new phone that I had on my iPhone but its easier on my windows phone
  • "That's investing in companys that limit you to what they want to give you..." This is exactly what every company does... Some (like WP) being more strict than others. Not that that's really a bad thing. That's why multiple OS options exist.
  • Why does the very first comment have to be one that doesn't get the point of the ad?  It's just an ad that pokes fun at the others.  Very well done IMO.
  • I get the point of the ad. It's simply to remind the average consumer that WP exists.
  • Just ignore it. Some people want to be argumentative & ignorant.
  • How about genuinely curious? Just because I had questions about the ad, it doesn't make me "argumentative & ignorant".
  • I understood it and laughed my ass off.
  • Same
  • Advertising is about gathering peoples attention and this one definitely does that. Should have been a super ball add
  • It doesn't convince people to switch to Lumia @Choorp.  Few ads about anything do.  It raises awareness in the best way, it makes you laugh.   A certain percentage of people will seize on that and go look at the product.  THEN the product must sell itself.   I agree its all a waste if the actual product isn't worthy of consideration.  But we know this product is worthy and getting people to take a look will be successful to some degree.
  • Is the sky ever blue in your world?
  • The ad says to me: "Don't be a douchebag fanboy, and consider other options like Windows Phone."
  • You know what they should have done. They should have posted video footage and pictures of this exact commercial taken from those 2 Lumia 920s.
  • It says that to you because that's what you want it to say. Most folks see it for what it is. Aren't you tired of all the hype surrounding a platform and all the silly competition? Come on over here to an phone and OS and ecosystem that does all that in a colorful and dynamic but low key way. The "punch line" was at the end, just like a "punch line" should be. Commercial was pretty good and I think it'll plant a seed.
  • It's a rare add that can convince anyone of anything. What it does is create awareness and intrigue, which hopefully leads to demand....
  • Look at Geico commercials. People remember their name because of their entertaining, WTF inducing commercials. I'm talking about the random ones that just flash up the name at the end. ATT has some great commercials with the little kids. A commercial showing off features will get lost, especially if it isn't entertaining. The reason Samsung had success with mocking the iPhone is just that- it was mocking something in an entertaining way. +1 for this ad. I hope they make a bunch more like this.
  • It is stereotyping iPhone and Galaxy users as ridiculous, uncool fanboys locked in their little feud, while WP8 users, while in minority, are cool and couldn't care less who has bigger... of those two because they know they're the best of the crop.
    This is basically about creating and projecting image to potential buyers and switchers and definitely is something both MS and Nokia need - they are not considered cool nowadays by big chunk of buyers. They need to address this negative image, and I'd say ads like this one can help there.
    Of course they should do more serious, feature based ads as well, but I hope they will keep variety - as long as they keep making good ads for both approaches.
  • I've had several people ask me about my Windows Phone, not a single person asked me about the apps. Universally, everyone asked me if I liked it. That was the cue to show off the Live Tiles and several other features along with the Office and Skydrive integration which then turned into a demo of Office 365 and document syncing between my phone, the web and my laptop.
  • Dec., 2011, bought two HTC titans. Wife switched iphone 5 and I switched to lumia 920, then to GS3, then to iphone 5. The biggest problem for windows phone is app quality.
  • I suspect the focus of the Ad was to make people aware how it can compete with the Samsung and Apple phones and oh by the way its highly recomened by Tech websites like this one just in case you missed our point.
    It really comes down to putting the phone in peoples heads so when they get to the store they ask about it. Some people need features others humour.
  • Nothing. How is that effective?
  • Hahahahah lmao!!!!! That was funny!
  • Yeah it was.  Very uncommong for MS.  The best part is the guy in the beginning taking a picture with what almost looks like a freaking tablet.
  • Hahahah right lol.
  • Agreed, when I see someone taking a picture with an iPad (tablet, whatever) I wanna punch them in the neck ;-)
  • Hahahah yes I hear you, me too!
  • Um… you do realize it's an open flip cover which looks like it would double the perceived size, right?
  • Great ad!! Love it, lol!
  • About time they make a normal ad. This was pretty cool.
  • Agreed! I love this ad. Probably my favorite Windows Phone ad since the "Really?" commercials, when WP7 first was released.
  • ^This. This one is along the lines of "Really?" It's funny, and that helps to at least educate the consumers that there is a such a thing as Windows Phone.
  • It don't make a bit of sense to make commercials and not expose them to the masses. Lets hope they put any WP ad on TV.
  • According to the WP blog it should start airing tonight
  • Its already airing. I seen it on CNN, ABC and NBC this morning.
  • I laughed so hard as I saw that as I was at work. Everybody was looking at me. :D I really like that commercial, although it does not really shows off the capabilities of the OS, it is just hilarious.
  • lol
  • LOVEEEEEEE IT!!!!! <3
  • But... I own a Lumia 920 and I fight with my iPhone & Samsung-owning counterparts about our phones. :/
  • Also, I like that they're using the Lumia 920 to promote WP now and not the HTC products anymore. lololololololol
  • So have you missed every other ad MS has put out showing the 8X?
  • I said "anymore." Or are they still promoting the 8X?!?!?!?! :/
  • ilabene
    At least the Lumia 920 makes a better weapon than any iphone or Galaxy S3, tough, heavy and not likely to shatter or scratch in combat. Perhaps they should do a follow up that makes this point as the Lumia owning staff have to fight there way out to safety.
    Great ad, especially when you read the crap that goes on in some forums, it's funny because there is an element of truth to it.
  • "Don't fight.  Switch."   Out of context, that goes really great with their "resistance is futile" past!
  • the day i enjoy a windows phone ad is when they show off the OS in conjuction to the phone.... saying lumia voted best but why? i did think the ad was funny just there is nothing informing me about the actual phone know what i mean?
  • The thing is, the people this ad targets is the sheep. I'm talking about those that get an iphone because it's an iphone and those that get a Samsung Galaxy because they hate iphone. The only way to pander to these people is with a funny, compelling ad, not specs. 
  • +1 all of the people that truly care about specs know that WP has the great devices cause they're reading about them all. That's why I switched. Time to pull all the other people that just care about the image. And the L920's got it.
  • in no way shape or form did i mention anything about specs. i said OS in conjuction with the beautiful phone. lol
  • +920
  • I see what you did there