Well it seems Microsoft has also jumped on the hidden camera band wagon in a campaign called the Mojave Experiment. (Will it ever end?) Okay, in this particular case it might actually make some sense. Microsoft's Vista has a pretty bad reputation. People hate it, openly discuss hating it and it's gotten to the point where people who have never used Vista openly discuss how much they hate it. Ouch! That's a pretty bad position for your product.
So Microsoft has decided to challenge that perception and try to remove the bias from the media and friends (not to mention those pesky Mac commercials). In theory it makes sense as a way to show the world they're unfairly biased against Vista. However, like any other 'hidden camera' commercials, you can't help but question how 'real' it is. In a campaign where the legitimacy doesn't matter, like the Office Max penny commercials, the technique works, but in this instance, the campaingn's success will hinge on people believing they're completely real.
My first thought was how extensively did the focus group use it? Was the focus group using it on a brand new, fast computer with a large hard drive? Or a computer that's a couple years old and loaded up with digital photos and mp3s? Did they focus group anyone who had used Vista and hated it? Or just people who assumed they'd hate it? Maybe I'm just a bit cynical. What do you think? Does this campaign encourage you to try Vista?
On a side note, please keep in mind that I've only watched the commercial above and although I did go to mojaveexperiment.com, I didn't/couldn't watch any of the videos. Perhaps there was more convincing material on the site, but I'm on a Mac you see, and to watch any of the video Microsoft wanted me to download Silverlight. (Okay, I'm going to rant here) Frankly I find it annoying when I have to download new programs to visit a website. Are you really going to make me download your own software to view your site? It struck me as frustratingly self-serving. I already have Flash and Quicktime, how many media players do you expect me to install? As a casual visitor, I'm more likely to leave your site than download yet another media player. True, there was an option to see the site without downloading Silverlight, but as I soon discovered, it wouldn't play any of the video. Thanks Microsoft.