No Mojo Mojave

I’m wondering who’s hiring the ad agencies up in Redmond these days.

Hot on the heels of the ‘No-one wants to look dumb’ campaign for MSN, the Mojave Experiment is squarely from the Pepsi/Coke taste test school of thought. You know, showing people like you and me reacting to the product, that kind of thing. This time, with the additional blindfold that the people testing Vista don’t know that it is Vista, just that it is the next version of Microsoft’s OS.

For the insomniacs amongst us, the underpinning of the campaign is of late night informercial genre - you know, the parade of unpaid customers of the product each of whom has some unique way in which the product for sale has touched their lives in a profound and meaningful way. You don’t really believe that they are being truthful, but somehow you can’t look away. Each echoing the same key messages of the previous one, like a rat caught in a wheel.

A blind test of an OS does not lend itself to before and after photos. Nor apparently in this campaign, of ever showing a single pixel of Vista in action. Instead, in the Mojave Experiment, the exposition is in the reality TV style, the reality being the reaction of ordinary people to it. Except that, as most reality TV shows, the reality is selectively edited. Of the claim of 22 hidden cameras (why hidden ? why 22?), only one or two ever appear to be in use. Worse, the captured reactions are mostly of the subject watching the screen while the off camera interviewer drives the demo. The subjects never touch the computer. They never have to figure out why their wireless connection isn’t working, or where they saved their Word document, or whether they can trust a download that magically popped up in their face while they were reading

You obviously never see them doing this.

The goal of this campaign is I suppose to show that Vista is surprisingly good. But it just acknowledges that, whether right or wrong, many people think its surprisingly bad.

Almost as surprisingly bad as the choice of campaign.

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