Ads are pure projection. They tell you exactly what the company wants to tell you.
With a little digging, they also tell you a lot about the company and the product.
The average corporate ad has been reviewed, previewed, improved, debated, trashed, revived and diminished by so many people that it becomes almost purely a creature of the veto process it had to survive.
What does the new Windows Mobile 7 ad tell us about what Microsoft wants us to know, and about Microsoft?
The ad contains scene after scene of people absorbed by their phones, and therefore ignoring the people they are with, and the context they are in, with comic and sometimes disastrous results. In the final pitch frame, Microsoft touts Windows Mobile 7 as being designed to get you in and out of your phone more quickly. "It's time for a phone to save us from our phones". It's a cute, clear, engaging, well-made ad.
So, what Microsoft wants to tell us is that we use our phones too much, and that I should buy a new phone so that I can use it less! Once I have this better phone, I'll have a better life, because I will be more efficient and won't be such a social bonehead. Or, perhaps, the ad is really aimed at the gift buying significant others who are going to get me that new more efficient phone so that I'll have more time to pay attention to them.
So, a better phone gets used less? This flies against user satisfaction surveys that say that the iPhone has both the highest usage and the highest satisfaction ratings. Still if you are really differentiating based on "efficiency" this is a pretty clear message.
On the other hand, what is this ad telling us about Microsoft?
It's telling us that they are scared and disapproving. They see a world full of people with a more intimate relationship with other companies' products than with the people in their lives. They see the allure of these competitors' products as a huge problem, a pernicious, dehumanizing force, a burden to be lifted. They see users as addicts, to other pushers' drugs. No wonder they are jealous.
"A phone to save us from our phones". Let's add in the missing words: "A (Windows) phone to save us from (y)our (Apple, Android, Blackberry) phones". So, is Windows Mobile 7 the equivalent of methodone, or a nicotine patch? Use it, but you'll use it less?
Of course you'll use it less - there are so few apps.
Perhaps by Windows Mobile 9, it'll be so perfect, you'll never use it?