Microsoft's MIX07 conference in Las Vegas this week was all about back-slapping, creating synergies, going forward and keeping a bunch of company people in front of a bunch of corporate consumers and potential consumers. Ideally, then, a marketing and PR dream come true. Until that is someone came up with the bright idea of allowing actual opinions to be expressed.
One place - according to Computer World Malaysia - in which opinions were not voiced appears to have been Microsoft's President of Entertainment and Devices, Robbie Bach's keynote address in which he wanted to talk about "connected entertainment". Someone forgot the shut the doors, therefore the attendees who were, apparently "teeming out" of the keynote missed out on Richard Rasala, associate dean of computer science at Northeastern University, pointing out to those remaining that, "The Xbox community existed, but the Microsoft ads [in games and on Xbox Live] then got moved around quite by accident, not by design. It's unclear that many companies can replicate that pattern by design."
And it didn't stop there - at a panel entitled, 'Marketing is Dead...Long Live Marketing!', worldwide publisher of the highly respected Economist
magazine, Andrew Rashbass, followed up poor Robbie's statement that, "We are engaging people, we are getting them to be interactive, and getting them to be social", by stating:
"It's kind of funny to hear Robbie Bach giving a talk on advertising and monetization when he just lost $300m in the last quarter. It's difficult to engage consumers. Robbie can show a few examples but the examples he doesn't show are the thousands of examples that don't engage consumers. Technology doesn't engage consumers."
Now, there could be just the tiniest of self-interest in this quote, coming as it does from the publisher of a magazine that relies on dead trees.
This is supported by a further Rashbass blast, as reported by Gavin Clarke on The Register†
, "You have all these devices and lots and lots of publishers trying to do it, but nobody is interested. Look at uptake for new readers. We [already] have the perfect portable reader you can take to Central Park, the bed or bath. I'm not saying that because I want magazines to continue, but because the market is dictating."
But we can't leave the conference without one final Rashblass beauty; as every gamer knows, intrusive in-game advertising, the man from The Economist
agrees, "The way advertising works is you piss off 92 per cent of the audience to reach two per cent. Ninety two per cent of users find adverts distracting and they wish they had a way to switch them off".
Is Andrew Rashbass a new hero or a tree-murdering Luddite? Discuss in the Forum below.† The Register