Staples' new Windows 8 campaign seems to assume that the new OS is too complicated for the average customer to understand.
Now that Windows 8 has been in the hands of consumers for the past several weeks, talk of the new Modern UI casting a dark shadow over the Windows platform has somewhat subsided. Many have discovered that the new Windows installment just isn't the monster many critics tried to describe. If anything, Microsoft seemingly shipped Windows 7 SE with an embedded launcher, the latter of which is more suited for the tablet market.
Still, the new Modern UI isn't all that difficult to figure out: it's very smartphone-ish, allowing users to access their email, check in with Facebook friends, and install free and premium apps through the built-in store. It's super convenient, and these live tiles -- replacing your standard shortcut -- even present quick information on the screen so that users know when mail has arrived, what apps need to be updated, and so on.
What really wasn't conveyed in Microsoft's push to sell Windows 8 was that the desktop is still the underlying foundation. Users aren't "forced" to deal with the touchy-feely Modern UI, yet they are forced into dealing without the Start menu. But as we've seen since the release of Windows 95, the desktop will likely pushed to the side in favor of the Modern UI just as DOS has with each new release of the Windows platform. DOS is still there (Command Prompt), and Microsoft will undoubtedly do the same with the desktop, tucking it away and out of sight.
That said, Staples' latest Windows 8 campaign is assuming that customers will be overwhelmed by the new blocky interface. For consumers who are less tech-savvy – such as grandma looking for a new PC – the retailer may be right on the money. Customers new to the Windows platform may not even notice that there's a big change to the OS, but for those who are still using Windows XP on a machine built back in the Stone Ages, Windows 8 may be a little overwhelming.
What's disturbing here, and Business Insider agrees, is that one big brand, Staples, is deeming another brand it's currently selling, Windows 8, too complicated for customers to understand on their own. Even more, the commercials represent the computer buyer as a balding, nerdy dad who is rejected by his teen son after asking for help with his new Windows 8 laptop. A sulking dad thus returns to Staples to get his free Windows 8 Training. Thing is, this dad has probably used Windows since v3.11 released in the early 90s, and may already know what's going on.
But, in Staples' defense, it's not the only retailer offering consumer "training," indicating that the general consensus is that the average consumer may need a little help with this new interface. Even the commercial itself doesn't specifically say Windows 8 is too complicated, but Business Insider reports that the campaign was created by the McCann ad agency, so there may be more to the "Microsoft Will Hate Staples' New Ads" than what's presented in the commercial.
Finally, here's the description provided by Staples, explaining the 16-second spot: "Teenagers get technology, but they're still working on people skills. The trained experts at Staples will take you step-by-step through your new Windows 8 tablet or laptop with Free Training. Let Staples help you make the most of Windows 8."
Should consumers be offended by this new campaign?