Oops! Microsoft, maybe you shouldn’t be looking for dirt

Sometimes, it’s not a good idea to ask questions…especially when it could lead to answers you’re not looking for.

Or, as a popular expression goes: People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Else, some could be thrown back.

In an exercise that shows just how clueless the company is, Microsoft thought it could gain an advantage on one of its rivals by asking Android users to tell about their poor experiences. I say “clueless” because it apparently never occurred to them how it be turned against them.

From a PCWorld article by Michael Homnick:

When the folks behind marketing Microsoft’s Windows Phone asked Android users on Twitter to share “malware horror stories” Wednesday using a #DroidRage hashtag, it’s safe to assume they expected a positive response from some malware-plagued users.

Others might say they were just asking for it.

Twitter users showed up en masse to spread the #DroidRage hashtag, but the campaign looks to be backfiring on the Windows Phone team. Some examples:

There were a few Twitter users who were in support of Windows Phone, however, and the marketing team does make a valid claim that Android phones, thanks to the open source nature of the Google Play store, can sometimes be susceptible to malware.

However, with Windows Phone only holding about 3 percent of the smartphone market share in the United States, one could make the argument that the mobile operating system’s malware advantage stems from the fact that creators of malicious software simply haven’t bothered to write malware for an operating system so few people have adopted.

Bad Twitter campaigns

Windows Phone is not alone when it comes to Twitter campaign backfires. Though a relatively new concept, hashtag marketing campaigns have already seen their share of failures.

In January, McDonalds started its #McDStories campaign, looking for Twitter users to share heartwarming stories from their experiences with the fast food chain. Predictably, the #McDStories hashtag quickly became a vessel for McDonalds-bashing users to vent their frustrations, as shown in the example below:

Microsoft #DroidRage tweet

Marketers at Research in Motion can relate all too well to the Windows Phone team as well, with their January #BeBold campaign which featured cheesy cartoon characters ripe for the mocking.

This all comes after an attempt to reboot Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser’s image with its “The Browser You Love to Hate” campaign, which openly acknowledged the fact that many users view Internet Explorer as a subpar browser. That campaign, which features an internet troll tweeting “IE sucks” rants, is a stark contrast to the Android-attacking nature of the #DroidRage campaign.

I’m not sure what’s more disturbing: the Windows Phone team actually believing that they have a product that is beyond reproach…or, being too out of touch to conceive of the idea that the marketing campaign could turn on them.

It looks like, in either case, no one bothered to check the public’s pulse before following through.

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