Friday, January 19, 2007

Zune Marketing via Orwell

OK, this isn't politics per se, but I have to get it off my chest.  The Microsoft Zune marketing campaign is disturbing me greatly.

There are two ads I've seen for the Zune that make me think the marketing folks at Microsoft have taken George Orwell's 1984 and turned into a reference manual.

The first ad has text which reads, "Welcome to the Social".  The second ad reads, "Anti-antisocial".  Both are anti-anti-bullshit.

I remember when I was a teenager - Sony had introduced the Walkman a few years earlier, and I had a competitor's version.  I used to walk around wearing headphones and listening to mix-tapes I made or maybe a purchased album.  At no time did I think I was being social - as a matter of fact, I knew, and was told often, that wearing headphones was antisocial.  Well, duh, of course it's antisocial - when I'm on the bus, or a plane, or waiting around in public, it's easier to put on my music, open my book, and tune out everyone else.  Being social means interacting with other folks around you - I was doing the opposite.

The Walkman for the new millennium is the iPod, and one of its competitors is the Zune.  The technology has changed, but the result is the same - you plug in earphones and listen to your music and tune out the people around you.  It's no more social than the Walkman, or the Discman, or any other technology that diverts one or more of your senses away from the folks around you.  It's never been "social".  It's never been "anti-antisocial".  And that's the disturbing part...

Microsoft appears to be trying to twist the meaning of putting on a set of headphones and listening to your own personal soundtrack as "social" instead of antisocial.  Much like Orwell's doublespeak, Microsoft marketing is trying to pull a fast one on us.

Don't believe the hype - buy the player you want for the features it has, not for the hype.  Listening to music on an MP3 player, or a Walkman, or Discman, or whatever, is not, has never been, and will never be "social".  It will always be antisocial.  And it matters not one whit what a marketer redefines words to mean.

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