IE8 ads with 90s Superman not being 90’s Superman and everything else that’s wrong with it

Thanks americancopywriter for showing me how underwhelming anything after 2 Girls 1 Cup can be.

In my mind, Internet Explorer carries a lot of the same baggage as AOL. they’re a lot of people’s ‘firsts’ and so carries a lot of baggage. You discovered the wonderful experience of online through them and there’s something magical in that. But after a while you probably felt embarrassed you ever got it on(line) with them. Especially since anybody who knew anything about the act teased you about how ugly and fat and inadequate IE was and how easy it was to catch a virus with repeat visits, etc. so you probably moved on to somebody cleaner, slimmer and more attractive.

Well now IE’s back. And bat-shit insane.

There was a time, not too long ago, when it seemed everybody in the press was drawing attention to these ‘online memes’ and how they were ‘the newest thing’ (despite the fact that media commentary on memes could, arguably, be a meme in itself). When advertisers started to do commercials spoofing memes, it was a nod not unlike if somebody’s dad started dancing at one of your parties, or some such thing. Nowadays, sheepishly referencing internet memes is a sure sign that you not only don’t ‘get it’, but that you are hopelessly behind us, the meme followers. Today’s effective brands don’t just reference memes, they make them a la Whopper Freakout, Dove Evolution, Ecko’s Still Free, the list goes on.

Needs more vomit (Like Team America more).

Dean Cain is hopelessly miscast as one of those older turtleneck-and-blazer-patrician-types, the references are light years behind what’s going on now and the call-to-order screen should have been composed on a grid with more attention paid to the kerning. Seriously, everything about this campaign is horribly executed. This whole ‘do you suffer from >insert tech related joke here<‘ shtick is also just really old.

There may be some juice left in the concept, but the direction should have been to go even more over-the-top than the memes themselves, with crudeness so low people can’t help but send it around. Instead they tried to match or muffle the shock value of the originals.

On the other hand, given how IE’s problems are far greater than the need to get noticed (it really has to shake off allegations that it’s unsafe to use, slow, messes with code and is incompatible with certain applets), entertaining people so they’ll remember the brand alone isn’t going to help. I guess the main problem with these ads is strategy: they don’t come close to addressing the fundamental issues with Explorer.

Months ago, Microsoft had to issue a statement acknowledging what everybody already suspected about IE: that some gaping hole of a flaw in its programming made it hopelessly unsafe to surf with. No mention in these ads about whether 8 still has these problems. This is suspicious. After announcing how much your product sucked, you expect us to just use your updated product without at least some assurance that it doesn’t suck anymore? And if they aren’t going to address this issue, then why bother advertising the new version at all? Why show us old memes that seem tamer and less interesting when viewed through the IE8 lens? Worst of all, why invent fake disorders that mock your users and can only remind them of how dysfunctional your software actually is? If the new product’s any good, give us a demonstration. Otherwise, it won’t matter if the advertising’s making your product seem crappy or vice versa, you will still suck.


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