Dear Internet Explorer,
Your browser sucks. I know you know this, but as a concerned web user, I wanted to make sure I really drove the point home. So again, let me say: your browser sucks.
I’ve heard the good news though — you’ve come out with Internet Explorer 9, a huge improvement that even the New York Times has called amazingly fast. And I’ve seen the flashy ad. It’s cool and all, but it won’t get me to try your new browser.
The thing is, your new commercial only makes me laugh. Microsoft has never been known for beauty. That’s Apple’s game. You should stick to what you do best: promoting productivity and building efficient software. Although Internet Explorer has often been inefficient, your new browser is supposedly much better.
I know this because of your less flashy, but quite humorous YouTube video you recently released:
You see, this ad makes me want to go out and try IE9 (and not the one I’m seeing during every single TV show I watch). It’s more effective because it plays up the joke that Internet Explorer sucks (but is now a good browser).
I know what you are thinking: the humorous video is for the nerds and geeks who’ve always made fun of IE; the flashy video is for the normals who still consider AOL the Internet.
Here’s the thing though: even most normals hate using IE and those who do use IE will only get confused by your ad’s messaging. The normals will think they already have the new browser — they aren’t smart enough to figure out they need to download a new version. If they are smart enough though (which they aren’t), they won’t know how to upgrade from what ever version of Internet Explorer they’re on without the help of an IT person or their young son/daughter.
Right now you have a great Tumblr page and a really awesome video that makes fun of your old product being god awful. However, you’re still putting most of your eggs in one really flashy yet ineffective basket.
Instead of the flashy ad approach, this campaign should be extended in two other ways to really drive mass IE9 adoption:
1) Make your offline campaign the same as your online campaign. Instead of spending all your money buying media time for your More Beautiful Web spot, build your entire campaign around the idea of the Browser You Loved to Hate.
Extend the web campaign offline because it’s much more effective in brand messaging and getting the word out. Put your Browser You Loved to Hate spot on TV. Build your magazine and out-of-home ads around this idea as well. Drive people to the Tumblr site.
Admitting your old product sucked is a really brave approach to take. It would be even more brave if you proclaimed it from a higher mountain top. It will get people talking and actually provide you with more buzz than the spot you currently hold so dearly in your heart.
2) Make the campaign more social and help me evangelize your product to those who need it. I think some of the content you have on your Tumblr page is great, but it’s not inherently social — sure I can pin some of those funny infographics, but this campaign has such a possibility to be social in a really unique way.
You know what I’d love more than ever? The ability to send my dad an email from your website with a link to download the new IE9.
Every time I go home, I yell at my dad if I see he’s using Internet Explorer. I’ve downloaded Chrome and Firefox on his computer, but he still uses Internet Explorer because that’s what he thinks of as the Internet.
Build out the functionality to allow me to share the new Internet Explorer with those I know suffer from your retched original product. Let me give them the opportunity to use your new product. It may take a while to convince me, but I’m still more than happy to evangelize your better browser to those who don’t know any better.
If you give your website the functionality to allow me to remotely install your new browser on my dad’s computer, I’d be more than happy to do it. Give me that option and I may even download IE9 for myself in the process.
So Internet Explorer, now that you know what needs to be done, it’s time to get to work. I know you spent all that money on the highly produced More Beautiful Web spot, but people will not care. Show your audience what really matters and give them more of it — I have a feeling you’ll see better campaign results because of it.