They spend billions of dollars developing cutting edge notebooks, phones, and tablets, but when it comes time to promote these innovations, many large tech companies miss the mark. By a lot. Whether they air a commercial that says something negative about their own product or produce a "viral" video that's oozing with cheese, companies as large as Samsung, Microsoft, and Lenovo need a friend -- the kind who tells you that your fly is open or that you shouldn't wear the red dress to the funeral. Fortunately guys, I'm here for you, with a little tough love.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1: Jen Loves Steven
It's Joni love Chachi, but with a lightweight ThinkPad and a heavy dose of dysfunction. In the video, Steven is at home using his ThinkPad X1 to do something, but his jealous girlfriend Jen has an obsessive need to know exactly what he's got on-screen. Is he Skyping with another woman, surfing the profiles on Jdate, or looking for his own apartment? It's a ThinkPad, but there's no chance in Jen's mind that her boyfriend might be doing office work on it.
To see what Steven is doing on his ThinkPad X1, Jen does a Glenn Close with the X1 playing the part of the bunny. First, she spills water on the notebook's keyboard. Then, she tries to scratch the display with her giant fingernails. And finally, she knocks the ThinkPad X1 out of Steven's hands and onto the floor. The notebook survives Jen's violent, jealous rage and it turns out that Steven has been using it to shop for an engagement ring. But wouldn't Steven be better off with a less-psychotic girlfiend and Lenovo be better off showing how this business notebook could survive an office user's abuse?
Unintended Message: Our notebook will survive an abusive relationship.
Samsung Galaxy S II: A Letter From Jim
As his Australian paralegal (and our narrator) tells us, Jim is a "hot shot lawyer" in Pittsburgh that everyone thinks is "Mr. Cold" for some reason. But unbeknownst to his clients and friends, Jim is really "Mr. Warm," because he uses his Galaxy S II phone to shoot videos of stray kittens and post them to YouTube. Nevermind that Jim could use any phone on the planet to post videos online and that he's actually a cruel voyeur who takes perverse pleasure from watching small animals starve to death, without lifting a finger to rescue or feed them.
Unintended Message: Our phone can help you look like a good person, even if you're a total jerk.
Windows Phone 7: Really?
Good news! Microsoft has a phone to save you from phones. No longer will you be distracted by actually staring at the screen and interacting with the device. You get "offline and on with life." But who wants to move on with life when when surfing the web on a good smart phone is so much better than aiming when you pee? Oh, Microsoft, you should have made the exact opposite commercial and shown users why playing Xbox games on their phones is better than spending time with the wife and kids.
Unintended Message: Windows Phone 7 is so boring that you'll find it easy to put down.
ASUS Eee PC Bunnies
Would you like a maxi helping of sexism to go with your mini-notebook? Then watch this ASUS Eee PC commercial, where women dressed as bunnies do a sexy dance until all but one of them run out of energy. We're then informed that battery life matters a lot and that the Eee PC gets over 8 hours of endurance.
Unintentional Message: Our netbook is perfect for looking at cheeky pictures in your mom's basement.
Samsung N140: Maria and Thierry's Tragic Love Story
Here's a tragic love story if ever I saw one. Maria uses her Samsung N140 netbook to write an e-mail to her boyfriend Thierry and tell him she's coming to Paris by train and will see him at 7 am. A little while later, she e-mails Thierry again to ask him why he's not picking up his phone. She carries her N140 all around town, but apparently leaves it on her desk before heading out to the train station to catch her ride to Paris. Unfortunately, because she leaves the N140 netbook behind, she misses Thierry's break-up e-mail and boards the train to Paris where she will be stood up.
Unintended Message: Our netbook isn't portable enough to take everywhere and it lacks mobile broadband. Get a smart phone or you'll miss urgent messages.
Blackberry Torch 9800: Space Age Technology From an Earlier Space Age
The BlackBerry Torch 9800 has the best specs of 2008. The only problem is that it actually launched in 2010 and is still being actively sold and marketed in 2011. While phones today have 1-GHz CPUs and many have two cores (with quad core coming soon), this dim Torch has just a 624-MHz processor. Where everyone else in the industry is selling sharp screens with 800 x 480 or higher resolutions, the Torch is stuck on 480 x 360. And while others offer high-def cameras, the Torch can only shoot 640 x 480 video.
But the facts should never get in the way of a good commercial. So we see a company that builds rockets using the Torch to film its test launches and e-mail the videos around. The company owner: "We're bringing the space age to the public, using space-age technology." We also see a trendy woman who is wearing 1960s-era garb shopping for clothing at a thrift store and using the web browser to pick outfits for her friends. Perhaps both the rocket and the fashionista are really talking about Apollo-program era technology and clothing, which would be quite appropriate for a phone that's so outdated.
Unintended Message: Our phone is totally retro.
Apple: My PC Ate My Homework
Ellen Feiss, a real-life teenager when this Mac commercial aired in 2002, claims that her PC erased a school paper. How did this happen and whose fault was it? "Well, it was like beep beep beep beep beep beep and then half my paper was gone," she says.
Oh no! Not the dreaded 6-beep error that erases half of your high-school term paper! That's a Windows bug on-par that's even more common than the Blue Screen of Death. Either that, or in her drug-fueled malaise, Ellen passed out on the keyboard and was jolted awake by the sound of keyboard buffer overflowing as she rolled over onto the backspace key.
Unintended Message: Macs are for stoners or people who are just too dumb to use a PC.