Microsoft’s beautifully inspiring Kinect video shows they can market products

By Tom Warren, on 31st Oct 11 12:10 pm with 76 Comments

Microsoft rolled out a truly beautiful video of its “Kinect Effect” on Monday.

The video, embedded below, tells the tale of how Kinect has gone from gaming accessory to amazing new heights as an aid in research, science and health care. The “Kinect Effect” terminology emerged from hallway conversations at Microsoft as a way to describe the creative ways that Kinect is being used. Microsoft’s video is a beautifully inspiring way of demonstrating the reach of Kinect and its potential in the future of computing. It’s also a rare opportunity for Microsoft to demonstrate its marketing skills.

The video is similar to Google and Apple’s product marketing videos that include an emotional attachment that resonates with the viewer. Apple’s iPhone 4 FaceTime adverts depict a simple video sharing scenario with a highly emotional occasion. Similarly Google’s Dear Sophie advert depicts a dad storing his daughter’s life in Google’s cloud. Both commercials leave the viewer wanting to know more and it’s difficult not to shed a tear at the powerful and compelling message of them. Microsoft’s Kinect video is emotionally inspiring, pressing the viewer to imagine the possibilities and future of computing.

Microsoft’s latest “great to be a family” commercials are less than impressive and the general reaction to them has been negative. Microsoft’s Kinect Effect video reaction couldn’t be any different. “A surprisingly beautiful advert from Microsoft, the team responsible need to do some WP7 adverts,” said WinRumors reader “Orange Lightning” in a comment on Microsoft’s first birthday celebration of Kinect. Henry Edwards commented “Microsoft Should make adverts/videos like this for all their products, as this advert is really good.” If Microsoft can apply this technique across its broad product portfolio then it’s clearly onto a winner.

  • http://twitter.com/JoeyJohansen Joey Johansen

    Fidelity, is the one thing that makes the Kinect something more than just a device, it’s the only thing that turns it into the magic it strives to be.

  • http://twitter.com/weetigo f t edwards

    I like this promo, and I agreere: wp7 commentary.  I have yet to see a good wp7 commercial on TV.  
    The ‘great to be family’ ads are hokey and focus too much on that goofy family, but at least they are a slight step up from those WP7 urinal ads they had last year. 
    Meanwhile, the WindowPhone channel on YouTube has some inspired videos that highlight the MetroUI, but they have never been aired on mainstream tv.

  • http://www.timacheson.com/ Tim Acheson

    Microsoft’s marketing is not good enough. Although some products have been marketed and generally promoted well, some of the company’s coolest products and services are like the industry’s best kept secrets! (SkyDrive, Silverlight, Zune, Azure, etc).

     Where are the TV ads for SkyDrive? 

    • Impartial

      I guess advertising services that not only doesn’t make them any money but costs quite a bit is not in their current agenda…

    • http://www.timacheson.com/ Tim Acheson

      I guess not. In contrast to Google, which readily promotes heavily-loss-making enterprises like YouTube and Google+.

    • Impartial

      I live in the UK and I have never seen Google promote either of those? Do they advertise those in the US?

    • http://www.timacheson.com/ Tim Acheson

      @Impartial:disqus  Google promote heavily in worldwide. Google’s propaganda and promotional operations may be too subtle to register on your radar.
      However, there have been Google-branded adverts on TV, on websites and in print featuring brands including YouTube and Chrome in the USA, UK, and elsewhere.Google spends more on political lobbying that Facebook and Apple combined. Of course, “lobbying” is a euphemism for subverting the democratic process and effectively using cash to ensure certain policies and outcomes regardless of what voters actually want, need or indeed vote for.Google’s promotion of YouTube and Google+ is prolific. For instance, they are paying “celebrities” to use G+ raise the profile of G+ and attract “users”.

    • Larry

      Never seen an ad for either.  The only ads I have seen on TV for Google were for Chrome books (what a total joke) and recently the angry bird ads pimping Chrome OS/Browser/development.  All of them were lame.

    • http://www.timacheson.com/ Tim Acheson

      @Larry Those are good examples, and there are plenty more. I would include foistware like the infamous Google Toolbar, included with every installer from Adobe and others, as one of Google’s numerous and vast promotional operations. 

    • Guest

      YouTube has probably lost less for Google in its lifetime than Bing did last quarter alone. And G+ was a fairly smart effort to try and compete against FB, which is a distinct threat to Google’s search business. Do we want to talk about the $8 billion MS lost competing against Sony, the $10 billion they lost on IPTV, the $8 billion and growing they’ve lost on search, the $ billions lost on mobile, the billion + lost on Zune, etc?

    • http://www.timacheson.com/ Tim Acheson

      @d47f466fd1ef72f7524fd860039ecd5a:disqus 

      I suppose you can post any nonsense while hiding behind a “Guest” identity, as is characteristic of the anti-Microsoft camp — especially supporters of Google and Apple. Anonymous posts implicitly lack credibility.

      “YouTube has probably lost less for Google in its lifetime than Bing did…”

      Probably? Why not admit that you have no idea? You are writing about topics without possessing even the most basic knowledge or facts regarding the opinions that you put forward — as is typical of anti-Microsoft comments online.

      Google’s losses on YouTube are estimated to be hundreds of millions per year, last time I checked:
      http://www.timacheson.com/Blog/2009/apr/youtube_not_profitable

      “G+ was a fairly smart effort to try and compete against FB, which is a distinct threat to Google’s search business.”

      That’s a curious way of looking at it. In fact, what you are acknowledging here is that all forms of innovation as a potential threat to Google’s business which lacks innovation. Google led the way in search, but that was a decade ago and the web has moved on. They’ve been dining out on search ever since, with an established pattern of imitation rather than innovation, and of course acquisitions like YouTube, Gmail, etc, all innovated by people outside Google.

      “Do we want to talk about the $8 billion MS lost competing against Sony”

      Can you be more specific? Which MS products and services? Empty rhetoric quickly crumbles under scrutiny.

      Taking specific MS products and services as examples, it seems odd to describe investment as “loss” — especially strategic investments which can be seen as counter-attacks, or at the very least strategic defences against ruthless and persistent attacks by Google. It’s not just Microsoft that Google is imitating and attacking, of course. It’s become Google’s modus operandi:
      http://www.timacheson.com/Blog/2011/feb/imitations_of_popular_tech_products

    • Guest

      Or innovating them quickly. Of course after seeing this play out with IE v FF and now Chrome, Hotmail v Gmail, Office Web apps v Gapps, and now this, you’d think they’d start to realize that the reason you;re doing free products (or should be) is because they’re strategic. And if they’re strategic, then you have to treat them like any other category and play to win.

    • Impartial

      I agree, but I guess that their ad dollars right now are in cash machine windows, office, WP and Xbox.

      But, what they should should do is get some metro awesomeness to all live.com services and the media would write so much about it that no advertising required!

    • Anonymous

      good question.

    • Guest

      Yeah, they should have promoted SkyDrive more, but it was a free product and as usual they couldn’t see the strategic value. Now of course Apple has come along with iCloud, and while SkyDrive Mesh is more powerful in some ways, it’s not nearly as easy to use. So they need to fix that a lot and make it a key feature of W8, at which point everyone will say that MS copied Apple ;-).

    • http://www.timacheson.com/ Tim Acheson

      Exactly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Are you on Twitter? I always follow people who get it, they’re rare!

    • ZipZapRap

      Obvious stalker is obvious.

    • http://www.timacheson.com/ Tim Acheson

      Incidentally, you’re right — and SkyDrive integration is built-in with Windows 8, as it will be with Windows Phone and Xbox.

    • Anonymous

      Exactly it’s premature for Microsoft to advertise their consumer cloud services when they’re not as easily accessible as iCloud. Windows 8 will fully integrate all these and I’m sure Microsoft is busy working on a beautiful emotional series of ads for that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001825207750 Jason Hughey

    FANTASTIC advert! 

    • J A

      Yup, they sure need the fuys who did this on WP ads. And by the way, people seriously need to stop calling it “Windows Phone 7″ or “WP7″, “7″ is just a version number which has changed now anyway. “Windows Phone” or “WP” will do.

    • http://twitter.com/Shadow_024 Shadow 024

      It’s the same thing as saying Windows 7 or 8.

    • Bluesky

      But I wouldn’t call windows 8 a “windows 7″ .. or an iOS 5 an “iOS 3″ :)

      OS name is Windows Phone, and it’s a bit annoying to see someone call mango (7.5) windows phone 7

    • deathmore34

      @55ebed9555e95b5a55d60f4a0a3817a3:disqus Google ads are shown on TV in UK, but are rare on the main 3 channels (ITV, Channel 5 and Channel 5), however most of their ads are on second level channels like Dave and 5USA

    • Anonymous

      It must drive you mad when someone calls an iPod Touch an iTouch.

    • Anonymous

      wp7 ads are made by interns. not marketing interns but probably drama school interns because they are more concentrating on showing a funny ad than selling a product. they should be working in sit coms, not marketing.

    • Larry

      Yeah I guess they forgot to take the class on the lingo?  Or you forgot to take your chill pill?  Put up a sign in your bathroom that says “so little shiiite does not matter” read it once a day.

    • Anonymous

      I give Microsoft a lot of crap for their marketing.  But every now and then, they do have some good commercials.  I also like the VMWare guy stuck in the IT past.  Bring that talent to Windows Phone commercials please.

    • Anonymous

      I concur.  Microsoft usually shoots themselves in the foot with terrible commercials.  That Windows 7 launch party commercial has to be one of the worst.  This one was pretty good.

    • Anonymous

      You just reminded me of those Windows 7 Launch Parties where MS sent free copies and party packs to people who promised to throw a Windows 7 party.  I am not ashamed to admit I was a host.  I hope they do the same promotion with Windows 8 because I plan on going all out and demonstrate desktops, laptops, hopefully a tablet, and Windows on all 3 screens.

    • jason404

      “ I also like the VMWare guy stuck in the IT past.”
      Is this a Hyper-V advert which I missed?  Have you got a link?

    • Anonymous

      Yup. http://www.winrumors.com/microsoft-pokes-fun-at-vmware-with-%E2%80%9Cvmlimited-man%E2%80%9D-video/

  • http://twitter.com/SergioIacobucci Sergio Iacobucci

    Love it!

  • Guest

    Is that the same voice as the apple ads?

    • Anonymous

      Sounds like Forest Whitaker.  Forest does not do the Apple ads.

    • Anonymous

      It is Forest Whitaker now that I go back and listen to it. But, this is a grand ad. Do this for WP7 and you got something. Rely on anybody other than Nokia to advertise WP and you got a problem.

  • Anonymous

    Awesome ads, I’m sold. It seems Microsoft has hired a completely different advertising agency. Well done!!

  • 80s Rocker

    Totally agree, MS needs more ads like this for WP7 phones.

  • Rojo

    This is the kind of advertising they need to do!!!

    I love every second of this video!

  • Anonymous

    love it…. needs to spread to the rest of their products

  • http://twitter.com/blakey15 D.O.M

    They need to make more commercials like that.

  • Aaron Rodriguez

    Hopefully this ad agency gets more work from ms…. its the kind of commercial they need to be making.

  • http://twitter.com/furdworetzky Fur Dworetzky

    Wow. Real amazing. Top-notch.

  • http://www.elmsoftware.com John Lueders

    This is dead on!  One of there best ads from Microsoft that have been reviewed and discussed on this site.

  • Anonymous

    Microsoft needs to hire the agency that did this, to do their ads for windows phone, zune, and their “family” of products in a much more compelling way than what we’re seeing right now. 

  • Anonymous

    :)

  • Aaron Rodriguez

    That is actually a very different rendition of the pixies where is my mind…. anybody know who did it?  (or was it one of those custom things only for this commercial)?

    • Mizunohane

      I was just thinking that when I heard the song! I immediately started looking up different renditions but haven’t found the one that made the commercial yet.

    • http://twitter.com/paint99 Larry

  • Anonymous

    well that’s because they are showing what kinect can do. when they market windows phone, they try to make a funny add nobody gets or makes you want to own a windows phone. back to basics. make an ad that show people why they should buy a product, not a stupid mini series of ads of random stuff that is better suited to somebody who failed marketing to upload to youtube.

    more of this kind of stuff MSFT please, but this time for windows phone. it is easy, just watch any apple ad and do that.

  • Anonymous

    Microsoft just needs to advertise as much as their competition does.

  • Anonymous

    WOW!!  That is best commercial EVER from Microsoft.  Now they need to put that same emotion into WP7, SKydrive, and Hotmail commercials.

  • Anonymous

    It’s easy to sell something no one else has and that everyone customer wants. I know the PS had the eye thing and the controller thing and the Wii has motion control but come on we all know the Kinect is in a different echlon than all of those alternatives.

    Microsoft’s marketing strategy cannot make some of the glossy and flashy claims on the other fronts like Windows and Windows Phone that they’re able to make on the Xbox and Kinect. The Kinect to Microsoft is what the iPad has been in the last couple of years for apple. Something that the competition cannot measure up to.

  • Josh Martin7

    Somebody mentioned the word “emotion” and I think that’s exactly what makes this advertisement so good. The emotions that it evokes are somewhat inexplicable which remind me of the Google commercial where the guy types in different things on his journey to get married, have kids, etc. THIS is what people want! Kudos to marketing dept l, this is perfection.

  • Dcard75

    Although I think the ad is beautiful and a fantastic upgrade from the windows and wp7 commercials we have seen, I am concerned that it seems a little too much like an ad for the iPad or iPhone.  I think MS needs to differentiate itself more and this will not help.  People will begin to make the parallels and just accuse MS of biting off of Apple which has been the problem all along.  MS has to find its own voice in its marketing and I am not sure this is it.

    • Dcard75

      See the “We Believe” and “If you asked”
      http://www.apple.com/ipad/videos/#play-guided-tours-ads

    • Anonymous

      Ah yes, Microsoft should make stupid videos like the “Windows 7 family” instead of emotional, resonant videos like this one because it reminds people a BIT of the Apple FaceTime ad.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t really buy it :)  Apple isn’t the first to invent these ads, they have been around forever.  I remember watching the gears of war trailer with mad world on it and was blown away they showed that as a pre-roll in the movies and those Halo commercials with the old dude and the scenary of the big battle – come on – those were epic and emo as well  :) i could go on and on, but this style of emotional tying of product isn’t something apple came up with at all.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, an incredible advertisement, and to think it’s only taken them how many years to “just get it?”

  • Piratelooksat40

    I bet you never see this ad on TV.   Over the 16 years at Microsoft, I have seen some of the most phenomenal and emotional videos, that are only used internally.  I am not sure why.  They should have similar ads for all our stuff.   Sadly, I bet it never makes the air.  If it does, they will run the campaign for a couple of weeks, then it will never be heard from again.( ie. See “I’m a PC”)

    • Anonymous

      If you think about the other “vision” videos they’re very long and targetted more at technophiles. After all the only way anyone would know about the “Productivity Future Vison” video is if you read tech sites.

  • Anonymous

    Between the “Productivity Future Vision” video and this one, MSFT has proven they can make emotional videos that connect with people. So why can’t they do this for Windows 7, Office, SkyDrive, Hotmail?

  • Guest

    I like it. But in a way it reinforces the stereotype of MS not being able to see new possibilities even when it has something unique. Plus we all know that Kinect wasn’t your standard MSR project and the base technology was licensed from an Israeli company after Apple turned it down.

  • Anonymous

    excellant video! They really need to spread this style to their other product lines. This would be perfect for WP7.

  • http://twitter.com/kid_jenius Daniel Paulino

    im speechless, that was just a really good video. as much as i hate to say it, it was very apple-esque, which, in terms of advertisements, is a compliment

    • Anonymous

      You have to beat Apple at their own game of emotional manipulation. Those “great to be a family” ads are just terrible and distracting. Those are the type of ads you immediately hit MUTE and go take a bathroom break. This is the kind of ad which makes you SIT and pay attention, and might exercise the tear ducts.

    • http://twitter.com/kid_jenius Daniel Paulino

       You nailed it, dude. Microsoft needs to make more ads that make people sit and pay attention.

      this is hopefully the first of many.

  • Pieere

    MS Advertising: take notice!

  • http://twitter.com/cris178 Cristian

    now if only they can make me cry for everyone of their ads.

  • David

    Very amazing Microsoft, it delivers an emotional appeal, and provides us customers the things KINECT can do, instead of all those flashy pictures and dance music. Use this on all your products, and you’ll definitely have a winner. Now let’s see how the ad for Windows 8 will turn out. #skeptical

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HOKQSWPW34HSO7G6IUTT74VVGQ Manu Narayan

    I HOPE this gets some air time.  This strikes me as one of those great videos that Microsoft creates and then never spends ad money on.  This should be on TV instead of those dumb ‘it’s a good time to be a family’ ads.

    • Anonymous

      If this ad never gets proper airing, I’m officially on the “let’s fire Ballmer” bandwagon.

  • Anonymous

    Oh. My. Gosh. Surely not. Surely this is not a Microsoft ad. After all of the fake families and obscure storylines, surely Microsoft was not able to conjure up this ad.

    Very well done, Microsoft. I hope to God they put these guys in charge of all of their marketing efforts.

  • Jorge1

    Awesome, fantastic! Inspiring and beautiful.

  • cnn_refugee

    I guess the comments on here are geared towards the quality of the advertisement. But thats all it is, is an ad.
    How come no one is asking the hard question, which is “Can Microsoft deliver”?
    The possibility of MS in and of themselves making life imitate art (this ad) is almost nil.
    And for those comparing to Apple ads, yes this MS ad may surpass any Apple ad ever put out there, however Apple ads have been for realistic technology they have produced on.
    People will buy existing windows machines based on this ad, which MS wants. But they arent going to live in the reality this ad projects is possible.
    Sorry to not be caught in the hype, I guess I am more a realist.
    And although I work in IT, my time is about 75/25 PC to Apple, so I dont care either way. I just want the truth and not hype.

  • C Brown

    There is a brand new add for thomson holidays in the UK that is so similar its horrifying.
    Right down to the slowed down version of ‘The Pixies’ “Where is my mind”.
    If it is the same agency that made both they might get away with it, if not …
    Lawsuits will ensue!