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Where do you want to go today?

This is the question Microsoft posed several years ago in its brand advertising.

I referenced this recently in a conversation with one of our clients and later wondered how different Microsoft's brand image might have been if they had stuck to this idea.

"Where do you want to go today?" peeled away the rational layers of Fortress Redmond and revealed the emotional raison d'etre for software, operating systems and browsers -- they unleash our potential, allowing us to go anywhere and learn anything, be part of larger social and semantic communities, and break the shackles that chain us to our office, right from our PC.  This brand campaign could have been an ever-unfolding narrative of optimism and discovery.

Because Microsoft abandoned its attempt to define an inspiring true north for the brand,  it allowed Apple to personify it as the dumpy and insecure PC dweeb.  Pity.