Are you ready to feel like a dirty marketing pawn for Microsoft?
How much do you love Windows Vista? A little bit? Oh, not at all huh? Well what if you were offered the chance of winning an entertainment package worth $15,000 to spend 30 minutes of your precious time looking at why Windows Vista is just so damn fantastic? Ah…thought that might change things.
In what can only be described as an act of utter desperation to overcome Vista’s mostly negative public perception issues, Microsoft Australia has put together an online “Fact or Fiction” quiz all about Windows Vista. Every person who enters gets a certificate of completion and, if you are an OEM system builder, you get a Windows Vista Advisor polo shirt too. Ah the temptation is overwhelming and I sense the greed welling up within you.
|Fact or Fiction?
But wait, there’s more! Every participant goes into the draw to win an admittedly very drool-worthy entertainment package worth $15,000 consisting of a Samsung 52” LCD TV, Sony home theatre gear and an XboX 360 Elite. Very not bad. Plus there’s secondary prizes of Xbox 360 Pro units.
So what’s the catch? Not much – you just have to sit through a little online quiz and answer some questions about Windows Vista. In my naïveté I thought that these might be challenging technical questions, the intense cerebral content of which would leave me scratching my head in rampant geek frustration.
Silly me. I soon realised my error when questions came along like this: “Windows Vista delivers all new levels of security compared to previous Windows operating systems – Fact or Fiction?”. And don’t you dare say Fiction, you cheeky monkey, you! Not if you want that Limited Edition Polo Shirt!
|An Inconvenient Truth
The whole thing is a massive exercise in how well you can regurgitate Microsoft marketing hype. If there’s a question which might put Vista in a bad light, it’s clearly Fiction, but if the question is happy and fluffy and might make people rush out into the streets in droves, driven by the whole heady thrill that is Windows Vista, it must be Fact.
|You're right, you simple fool!
So I sat through ten questions of breathtaking banality, thinking that I didn’t have far to go. Oooo how wrong was I…it gets better people! The next phase of the quiz is the fatuously named “Consultation Quiz”, where you are presented with videos of four poor, technically impoverished users (ie: suckers) who come to you begging for technical advice as to which version of Windows Vista will meet their needs and give their lives meaning and purpose. And what role do you play in this? You are the mighty Advisor! Fresh from your intense grilling in Fact or Fiction, you stand poised to administer Truth to these unfortunates.
In each video, you are required to pick the three most important technical features that these users require, and then recommend a version of Windows Vista which might best suit their needs.
|Feeling dirty yet?
It’s sort of hard to keep a straight face and I suppose it’s all in good fun, until right at the end when you’re obliged to recommend Windows Vista Ultimate to some poor schmuck simply because he’s “heard of this thing called Media Center”. You come away from that feeling slightly soiled, and ready for a job in the Computing Department of Harvey Norman.
This is desperate, desperate stuff. Seriously. I can’t think what Microsoft hopes to achieve with such a stunt, and to be honest I almost hope that resorting to such cheap and blatant tactics does more harm than good. Unless I win the main prize in which case it’s a bold and courageous move and I heartily applaud such a brilliantly innovative and cunning marketing strategy.
The one thing I can say about it which isn’t completely drenched in sarcasm or scorn is that the whole things has been done in Silverlight, and looks well tasty as a result.
For those of you desperate for a polo shirt (that unholy spawn of a proper shirt and a T-shirt), you can play Fact or Fiction here
. My recommendation is to gather a few friends around the computer screen with some beers and make an evening of it, as although the entertainment content is high, there’s other, less than savoury content too. But the alcohol should numb the pain.