IE9: The brand campaign I am loving to hate

I came across this video yesterday:

It’s ironic to use a hipster-looking, obviously designer/Mac lover inspired stereotype that for some reason works on a PC in his dorm, (seriously, does he have to be sporting plaid, a beard, geek-chic glasses, AND high-laced shoes?) but irony aside, the ad is funny in its very relate-able premise. I think anyone that uses the internet as much I do has come to understand the inferiority that has long been linked to Internet Explorer whether it’s trying to get beyond it’s clunky interface, poor HTML compliant standards, slow loading times, and it’s sheer amount of fail despite its countless released versions. This new release (while still in beta testing) seems different though, especially in the radical ad campaign that tries to poke fun at itself in a humorous haha-but-nah-really-guys-we-fixed-it kinda way. Though despite the humor, the rest of it’s campaign falls flat through the ironic saturation of trendy design devices it employs.

It’s even made a website for it’s launch, with the slogan “The browser you love to hate” Please check it out and look around for a minute, notice the cheesy infographic ads it has posted – then look at them again and notice how much they suck.

Now again, I’m not railing against the browser, since I’ve never used it. Aha, I mean, how can I when they don’t offer a Mac version even though we are undoubtedly the target audience as picked up by one of the posted testimonials on their site. (Wow, IE:9 really understands the importance of irony in hipster-culture! I’m impressed.)

Now, getting back to the ads, if you were too frickin’ lazy to visit the site then consider yourself lucky, as I have reposted them below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If there is one thing I hate more, it’s contrived advertising and in my opinion, this campaign embodies it. Taking in the website, the youtube video, and the static ads, you get an overwhelming sense that IE:9 is trying way too hard to be apart of a group they don’t quite get yet. You can’t just don a varsity jacket, wear some sunglasses and suddenly be able to sit at the cool kids’ table, especially after years of seemingly not giving a shit about who we are and what we like. And as I see it, this campaign is really just Microsoft’s way of back-pedaling from years of marginalizing an influential segment of computer users, like they’ve finally realized that our opinions matter and that (most importantly) they affect other people’s perception and use of the product. And just like the overly-geek-hipster stereotype in the video, the entire campaign reeks of over-saturated design clichés with the use of infographics (rated on a “coolness” factor, really?), muted color palette, and use of gotham and a condensed bold font (they even threw in a trendy vintage script!).

Despite my personal opinions however, I objectively believe that the campaign will do well: it sparks interest through its humor and radical approach towards a long-since ignored segment. And while I look forward to learning how it’s received in the design/development community, my opinion for now is reserved with skepticism, since if there’s one thing that hipsters seem to find important it’s looking like a homeless douche at a bus stop  authenticity.

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