What does a brand do when its reputation, amidst an influential set of its target audience, is mud? In the tech world, most consider Internet Explorer to be so ‘last decade’. Most savvy users of the web have switched to modern browsers like Chrome, Firefox and Safari. IE was a dominant browser up until the mid-2000s and since the launch of Google Chrome its been all downhill. Its down to just over 30% globally, losing its No.1 status; a far cry from the 75%+ market share days. But beyond numbers, its the perception of the brand as an ‘uncool’ one that would hurt Microsoft the most. To be fair, other browsers like Firefox and Chrome offered a much better browsing experience be it in terms of speed, add-ons and page rendering.
Given this background, the latest effort to announce IE10 is mighty bold. A microsite, The Browser You Loved to Hate, takes the bull by the horn. What works is the self-deprecating humour suggesting that a new, improved IE is too good to be true. The interesting bit is that the microsite is actually a Tumblr theme which one is free to use in one’s own Tumblog.
The new ad is insightful about the behaviour of ‘experts’ on all things tech – the trolls. They are the ones persistently spewing venom against brands they hate, usually in the form of comments.
The humour continues in the IE10 ad with references to HTML 8,9 and ‘karaoke web standard’. Even after a barrage of ‘proof’ of improvement, the troll admits that IE just sucks less. How many brands would openly associate themselves with words like ‘sucks’? It’s a bold, honest move and this approach as opposed to an indignant, nothing-wrong-with-us attitude is likely to get a second look for the browser. Its the ‘Gandhigiri‘ approach in a way. Works for you?