Welcome to the Zune ads

Microsoft is taking a decidedly muted marketing approach with Zune, their potential iPod competitor. We’ve been inundated with ads for the incrementally improved iPod Nano and Shuffle, but there doesn’t seem to be an equivalent Zune campaign, despite the imminent November 14 release. Zune Insider offers a peek at some TV ads, and my opinion is mixed.

Apple’s stylish product-focused iPod ads have transformed their white earbuds into an iconic, self-propelling fashion statement. The initial batch of Zune ads try to pose an organic contrast to Apple’s polished ads, replete with deep earth tones, dancing crowds, and possibly more dogs than is healthy. While I recognize they are trying to establish the product’s “Welcome to the social” tagline, these high-concept ads are easy to mistake for a Levi’s commercial. Or worse — an iPod® commercial, since the iPod® is now the Kleenex® of MP3 player brands.

Of the inital bunch, I think the Lion vs. Gazelle is the best. Product-centric, and featuring a catchy tune and a memorable concept:

The rest of the ads feel left field. Take a look at Picnic. It’s basically a 20-something Sesame Street cast dancing and hugging to a folk song. And dogs. Lots of dogs:

IMHO

While technology doesn’t tend to win markets, Zune features compete favorably with the iPod. The 3″ screen is .5″ larger than the iPod, and the ability to wirelessly share audio/video is exciting. It will play nicely with an X-Box 360, and I expect it to interact with Microsoft’s Soapbox video sharing site when it’s out of beta. But if Microsoft is to compete with the Apple juggernaut, they’ll need to ramp up their branding. Thanks to Zune Insider for sharing the TV spots.

Tangent: New XP “Zune” Theme

After several months with the Energy Blue theme (aka Royale) for Windows XP, I was interested in a replacement for this bright blue theme. I came across Royale Noir on Istartedsomething (via John’s blog), which includes the original blue as well as a black iteration. The latter is nice, but inactive Windows are a bit too dark on my LCD. A comment on Istartedsomething referred me to my new theme on Zune.net (lower right image), which is basically an updated version of Royale Noir.

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2 Responses to “Welcome to the Zune ads”

  1. […] Original post by Nathan’s Blog – Wired World Wonderings […]

  2. John says:

    But,,,,,,,,,,,

    is it an iPod?

    😀

    I played with one at Target the other day one of the first things people will find confusing, as did I, was – how do you control it?? I was moving my finger around the ‘scroll wheel’ and realized that it doesn’t scroll, you have to push up and down- it was just a simple 4 way directional pad. Tsk tsk.. better design would have been 4 simple buttons instead of a circular pad trying to make it look like an iPod 😉

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