Microsoft pulled videos mocking new iPhones for being 'off the mark'


Microsoft pulled seven videos mocking Apple's new iPhones within about two hours of their release.

Microsoft admits its seven videos mocking Apple's new iPhone 5s and 5c were pulled for being in poor taste, a reaction that comes as no surprise given the fact that the videos were pulled within about two hours of their release on Friday.

The videos, which depicted two Apple employees pitching ideas for the new iPhones to Apple CEO Tim Cook, were met with resounding negativity from news outlets and social media users. In a response provided to news outlets, Microsoft said the videos weren't up to the company's standards.

"The video was intended to be a light-hearted poke at our friends from Cupertino," the response states. "But it was off the mark, and we've decided to pull it down."

The longest video, which spliced together moments from the other six videos, has since been uploaded by several YouTube user unassociated with Microsoft and can be found by searching for "Fly on the Wall," the name of the video series.

Microsoft’s misfire comes on the heels of well-received Windows Phone commercials pitting iPhone and Android users against one another. Additionally, Microsoft tweeted messages mocking the new iPhones during their announcements on Tuesday that were met with relatively positive responses.

"Scroogled," Microsoft’s anti-Google marketing campaign, has received primarily negative responses, though the company hasn’t shown any signs of halting the campaign.

Image via Microsoft

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off the mark? i'd be very surprised if microsoft did anything spot on since the beginning of this millennium.

The video is hilarious. "we gave them the finger... print... id", the plastic fork, leprechauns, complicated color names - brilliant. The only cheap shot I spotted was the girl touching the photo of a douchebag.

The only funny part of the video was how the baldness changed on the Jobs or Cook character, or whoever it was. It was a different male-pattern baldness from cut to cut.

This is just another part of the viral marketing campaign that gets yet another post on web sites. Now people will go search out the videos to see what they're talking about. The only thing better than "leaked" is "banned" in the new marketing world.

This is what a poor performing company does I'm afraid

If they had confidence in their upcoming products, they wouldn't need to stoop to these levels. It was the same with the Nokia kit-kat advert.

Microsoft has never been more confused.
They are about to break a record of decisions made for the majority of the most popular products and canceling these decisions the next day.

It's fun to see lots of people being mad on Microsoft because of this ad attacking the competition, while it's actualy the competition (and in this case, even the attacked competition) that started with this kind of ads. "Get A Mac", anyone?

Guess whats gonna happen if the Gold iPhone ends up being popular, Microsoft is gonna end up releasing a Gold Lumia.

This was a weird ad for sure, so its good that MS thought so as well and took it down.

I'm not sure why people get so angry at MS though. People love to jump on them for the smallest of things, even things that their competitors also do. Things seem to always slant against MS in these cases.

I'm not sure why its wrong for MS to make ads that mock the competition when that's a fairly regular strategy for companies. I remember the Apple VS ads, the Samsung Galaxy ads, even the more recent Nokia switch ads. They all do it in an attempt to draw your attention to their products, even if it may not be an ad that lays out much about your product.

MS has actually had good ads here lately, its just this one that was off the mark. Everyone wants to jump on this one, as if the others never happened.

I guess I just don't take these ad campaigns as seriously as some of you, but it just seems to me everyone puts out a dud from time to time. MS put out a dud here and are moving on. Of course, MS gets slammed when they react to user feedback, so they never really win in the eyes of some.

I seriously wonder how well Nokia will go under Microsoft. Look at Nokia's ads poking fun at Apple and Samsung for example, they hit the mark perfectly. Then Microsoft release this un-funny crap poking fun at Apple for making a plastic phone, when their biggest Windows Phone manufacturer is pretty much exclusively plastic!

Dear Microsoft,
Desperation is never an excuse, or reason, for poor taste. Get your own house in order before deciding to attack the competition. The sooner you ditch the arrogance, the better off you will become.

vcfan said,
the video was great. as usual the anti-ms crowd is out in full force.

Obviously lots didnt like it and that is why MS pulled the videos and are now apologizing for their actions. You are in the minority. Even when MS admits they are wrong, you still dont agree. Funny

Denis W said,
Clearly even Microsoft executives beg to differ.

It's vcfan. He'll try to tell you that the execs that pulled it are just Apple fanboys.

too big _not_ to fail. that's probably microsoft's motto for these past few years. guess they are on the right track.

These videos were tone deaf and MS did the right thing to pull them. How many U turns are MS making at the moment? MS has no direction and are losing credibility, MS should promote their own products and services rather than having a dig at others. With 3% worldwide market share after 4 years Windows Phone is a huge and embarrassing flop. Integrating NOKIA will take time and this means lost time and I am sure that key staff will leave during the acquisition process.. MS needs to get it together.

techbeck said,
Wow, if that is how they treat friends, I would hate to see how they treat their enemies.

They're companies, of course they're going to do what they think will get them sales or brand influence, even if they respect a competitor's products.

The only good side to this ad being put out is that, for once, I can say that Neowin as a community actually agreed on something together. Totally didn't expect that.

Interesting since I'm sure they had to be approved before being released... seems like just another case of Microsoft screwing up and trying to cover their tracks. This company seems to do nothing but make me cringe lately. Completing the switch to Linux sounds better and better every single day.

Enron said,
Switching to Linux isn't going to do anything but waste your time.

Perhaps, at least until everyone starts doing it. Worst case scenario, I have to run a VM for a couple things. Less of a headache than dealing with W8 (or 8.1) if you ask me.

Enron said,
Switching to Linux isn't going to do anything but waste your time.
Tell me about it. I did it years ago and there's nothing but painful memories of the switch. I came running back to Windows and never looked back. I'm loving Windows 8, btw.

Well, let's see how well Microsoft is really doing here... Surface and Surface RT? Nearly a disaster for Microsoft, and their iPad buy-back program isn't succeeding too well. Windows 8.1 not being released to TechNet and MSDN folks? Whoo, let's not touch that hot potato, if Microsoft expected programmers to simply wait, that was a major PR fiasco. Buying Nokia? That one looks like it'll be a disaster in the making.

To be honest, Microsoft has been making a major series of missteps and mistakes over the last year, and it's not making users, programmers or stock holders very happy. So far the only real bright spot has been WIndows 8, but even that had some major screw-ups in it (no Start Button? Constantly flipping between the Desktop and the Start Screen? I don't think so, most users don't play that game.)

Oh, as for Linux, when you have a perfectly good piece of computing hardware, like a netbook, and it's just not powerful enough for Windows 7 or 8, Linux is a perfectly reasonable alternative. I have Linux Mint on my netbook, I cringe to think of putting Windows 7 back on it.

Microsoft needs to stop trashing the competition and focus on developing and promoting its own products. I mean, Microsoft is hardly one to talk - Windows 8 has been met with huge hostility, Windows Phone is barely making a dent in the mobile market, Bing is widely considered a joke and the Xbox One has so far been a disaster from a PR perspective.

I really hope that Microsoft's change in leadership will yield really change, as frankly I find Microsoft's current advertising strategy disgusting and its products lacking focus and refinement.

There are some good ads but Microsoft just isn't very consistent when you have things like this come out. I'd disagree with your assessment of their products though.

Agreed. Microsoft is too big to control itself right now. Maybe that's why many want Ballmer gone, and not because of Windows 8 which will ultimately do well.

I think they don't know when to stop sometimes. Those iPad vs. Windows tablet ads for instance were great at first, then took an almost immediate nosedive shortly after.

Reminds me of a kid who makes you laugh, then tries to drop every last joke on you until they've reached the bottom of the barrel or Tom Green's level.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Microsoft needs to stop trashing the competition and focus on developing and promoting its own products. I mean, Microsoft is hardly one to talk - Windows 8 has been met with huge hostility, Windows Phone is barely making a dent in the mobile market, Bing is widely considered a joke and the Xbox One has so far been a disaster from a PR perspective.

I really hope that Microsoft's change in leadership will yield really change, as frankly I find Microsoft's current advertising strategy disgusting and its products lacking focus and refinement.

I agree but what about the underlying problem; how can they if the crap they keep putting out doesn't compete? Trash talking is their only option, it would seem.

wingliston said,
Windows Phone is doing fine.

It's doing worse than Windows Mobile. Very few manufacturers support it and the highest profile one, Nokia, lost half its market share after the announcement and had to be bought up by Microsoft to avoid going bankrupt (its stock was rated "junk" by analysts and it was widely predicted that Nokia would run out of money this year).

theyarecomingforyou said,

It's doing worse than Windows Mobile. Very few manufacturers support it and the highest profile one, Nokia, lost half its market share after the announcement and had to be bought up by Microsoft to avoid going bankrupt (its stock was rated "junk" by analysts and it was widely predicted that Nokia would run out of money this year).

On the upside, it's mainly doing bad because it's taken so long for it to catch up in features and apps. Not because the OS or UI is inherently bad. Let's face it, people ARE copying it's style.

If they can keep alive, on life support or however, they do have a chance. The good apps are great, they're also 6.99 due to the low volume. There's not enough great apps and not enough phones, but they're not dead yet.

MorganX said,
On the upside, it's mainly doing bad because it's taken so long for it to catch up in features and apps. Not because the OS or UI is inherently bad. Let's face it, people ARE copying it's style.

It's not that it's bad, it's just that it doesn't offer any advantage over other platforms. It's lacking basic features (notifications centre, independent volume controls, etc), developer support and flexibility, while being behind the curve of other platforms (no support for quad-core processors, 1080p displays, fingerprint scanners, etc).

If it wasn't for the decision to go with tiles rather than icons there wouldn't be any reason to pick it over iOS or Android.

theyarecomingforyou said,
I mean, Microsoft is hardly one to talk - Windows 8 has been met with huge hostility, Windows Phone is barely making a dent in the mobile market, Bing is widely considered a joke and the Xbox One has so far been a disaster from a PR perspective.
Windows 8 is doing just fine, the 'hostility is mostly in the small minority corner called techblogs where clueless people who do not even use the OS think hey know what they are talking about. In many markets Windows Phone is closing in on double figures fast and catching up on their next rival. Bing is far from a joke and is in fact seeing steadily growing numbers and Xbox One is hampered by the same minority who thinks they know what's best. The same minority has actually managed to ruin a pretty good concept without even realising it.

MaddddHatter said,

The above comment was obviously not written by a MSFT shareholder.

MaddddHatter

Well its no surprise that WP isn't an instant success. They decided to follow the same strategy they did with XBOX, which was to get it out to market first, then incrementally improve upon it. In this case, I think they're fighting more of an uphill battle because of resistance from carriers and focus on things like no. of apps. WM was already in decline by the time WP came out and a lot of carriers didn't even want to touch WP.

But marketshare is improving. I'm not a shareholder but I know how to read stock charts. MSFT has been in a very slow upward pattern since 2008. Maybe not as strong as you want it to be... but not in a downward spiral at all.

paulheu said,
Windows 8 is doing just fine, the 'hostility is mostly in the small minority corner called techblogs where clueless people who do not even use the OS think hey know what they are talking about.

No, it's not. As someone that works in retail, I have to hear about complaints about Windows 8 every day. In fact, it's my job, my role to show them that there's nothing wrong with Windows 8. Of course Windows 8 will still succeed, as it's hard NOT to when you push it out as a major release and pull from the shelves Windows 7.

For the people that are harder to convince, I'm thankful companies like Stardock exist because Start8 is a $5 ease of a headache for many. (yes, I know there's Classic Shell too, but I prefer Stardock's offering)

Microsoft has a lot to do in the way of correcting this. While Windows 8.1 looks promising, I can only hope the next iteration of Windows brings upon welcome changes where we can find some common ground on what we'd like to see in a desktop operating system.

paulheu said,
Windows 8 is doing just fine, the 'hostility is mostly in the small minority corner called techblogs where clueless people who do not even use the OS think hey know what they are talking about.

Yes, keep thinking it's a small minority. Microsoft totally brought the start button back because four people were sad to see it go.

In many markets Windows Phone is closing in on double figures fast and catching up on their next rival.

I'd never thought I'd see the day. Windows fan thumping their chest and boasting about single digit market share numbers. What are you, a Mac fan from the 90s? Eh, who am I kidding? A Mac fan from this year.


Bing is far from a joke and is in fact seeing steadily growing numbers and Xbox One is hampered by the same minority who thinks they know what's best. The same minority has actually managed to ruin a pretty good concept without even realising it.

Microsoft has made a 180 on just about every decision they've made this year, but you kids who run around with Lumia avatars do not want to admit that maybe your idols are not all that great, and that they make a boo-boo or two here and there, so you blame it all on that, "vocal minority."

You have it all wrong. Microsoft hampered the XBox One. Microsoft ruined a pretty good concept. At the end of the day, the XBox is Microsoft's product. It's their responsibility. Why does none of the blame fall on them? If Microsoft were confident with the XBox One's new features, then why did they change their mind so quickly after spending a week trying to defend what they had (read: E3).

Yeah, Sony fanboys spoke up, and maybe even a few Mario fans did too, but that's not enough to get a company to change course. You're not going to give up what you have just to make a few people who would never buy anything from you to begin with happy. No, they were joined by fellow XBox fans too. The type of fans who don't bend over and take whatever Microsoft gives out, but the type of fan that loves their XBox, and that's why Microsoft listened. But sadly, you'll never understand it because it's never Microsoft's fault.

paulheu said,
Windows 8 is doing just fine, the 'hostility is mostly in the small minority corner called techblogs where clueless people who do not even use the OS think hey know what they are talking about..

I didn't say it was a bad product, just that it has been met with hostility.

paulheu said,
In many markets Windows Phone is closing in on double figures fast and catching up on their next rival.

Yet it is still behind where Windows Mobile was eight years ago.

paulheu said,
Bing is far from a joke and is in fact seeing steadily growing numbers

Bing is literally a joke - it was only the other day, either on The Daily Show or the Colbert Report, that it was joked that "nobody use that", in reference to Bing. It doesn't make any money for Microsoft and is in fact costing a lot to promote.

paulheu said,
Xbox One is hampered by the same minority who thinks they know what's best. The same minority has actually managed to ruin a pretty good concept without even realising it.

A "small minority" that has forced Microsoft to change its entire business strategy for the Xbox One on numerous occasions.

A company the size of Microsoft does not change its entire business strategy based on the desires of a "small minority." What Sony was doing and marketing against some of Microsoft's decisions played much more of a role. It's a cutthroat business with high stakes and MS' drastic changes and DRM implementation, real or perceived, was a serious weakness. The only time a "small minority" has that much impact, is if their buying power and influence are anything but small. If MS had not made the changes they did, Sony would have marketed them into trouble.

Wow. This constant flipflopping on so many fronts is making Microsoft look like a total joke, they are clearly lacking in direction at the moment.

Either have confidence in the point you're trying to make or think harder BEFORE your advertising is put to market.

Microsoft is a big company. Sometimes things get out. Many people don't correct their mistakes. They're going through a lot of changes. Give them some credit for listening and fixing, there's a lot to be said for that.

I agree they are lacking in direction and need to pay closer attention to things like this.

MorganX said,
Microsoft is a big company. Sometimes things get out. Many people don't correct their mistakes. They're going through a lot of changes.

If MS focused more on their products than trashing the competition, then things like this would never get out to begin with. It is a "mistake" that never should of had to been corrected in the first place.

MS was a big company before WP8 and Win8. They are just hell bent on trashing the competition and not they own products. They hire people like Mark Penn to specifically go after companies and trash talk them with ads/campaigns like this. MS needs to ditch this guy and rethink how they want to advertise their products and how they want to look in the public.

@techbeck I don't disagree with any of that. The marketing strategy is used by many. Remember PC vs. Mac, total BS but somewhat effective. Yes, this is bad form on a different level.

My point is, it doesn't make MS evil, and many large companies refuse to backtrack. It is a good sign. And yes, this is their own making. But you have to give a company as large, diverse, and complicated as Microsoft a chance to change. If they hadn't pulled it, I'd be piling on with you, but they did. And maybe they will make a few people pay for this one. It was bad enough, IMO, for someone to lose a job or contract.

Microsoft is focusing on products like Windows 8.1, Cortana, Servers, Azure. It's just trolls like YOU that pretend Microsoft is 100% dedicated to trashing Apple.

CygnusOrion said,
Microsoft is focusing on products like Windows 8.1, Cortana, Servers, Azure. It's just trolls like YOU that pretend Microsoft is 100% dedicated to trashing Apple.

Like I said in a reply to another post in another tread to you, learn what a troll is. Seriously, makes you look like a fool. Stop assuming I am claiming MS is dedicated to trashing Apple. In fact, stop assuming anything since you obviously have no clue on what you are talking about.

Here is a tip. I am on subject, I am expressing my opinion on said subject. Those are not traits of a troll. Now, if I was saying MS sucked and only fools and idiots like MS...then that would be trolling. But I wouldnt say that because i like MS, I use a lot of their products. I just dont like what they are doing marketing wise.

Now move along please, adults are talking here.

techbeck said,

Like I said in a reply to another post in another tread to you, learn what a troll is. Seriously, makes you look like a fool. Stop assuming I am claiming MS is dedicated to trashing Apple. In fact, stop assuming anything since you obviously have no clue on what you are talking about.

Here is a tip. I am on subject, I am expressing my opinion on said subject. Those are not traits of a troll. Now, if I was saying MS sucked and only fools and idiots like MS...then that would be trolling. But I wouldnt say that because i like MS, I use a lot of their products. I just dont like what they are doing marketing wise.

Now move along please, adults are talking here.

Not quite. Trolling in of its self is not down to the language used. You can be a troll while putting out well thought out and coherent arguments, for the thing that defines a troll is intentional aggravation. A troll uses arguments and statements that will knowingly aggravate the target. Weather the points made by a troll are in-line with their personal opinion is not a factor here.

CygnusOrion said,
Microsoft is focusing on products like Windows 8.1, Cortana, Servers, Azure. It's just trolls like YOU that pretend Microsoft is 100% dedicated to trashing Apple.

Wow, we agree!

What if I told you "Microsoft" don't make these videos, a 3rd party advertising agency does.

Same goes with all major companies, a contracted media company get a brief and make an ad in response. This then gets shown to the clients who might be two or three people for the executive board in charge of marketing and then it gets the green light from there.

Don't hate on the brand, find out which dumb ass in the media company made the script and which twit on the Marketing team approved it.

Auzeras said,
What if I told you "Microsoft" don't make these videos, a 3rd party advertising agency does.

Whether or not that being the case, in the end Microsoft gave the green light to actually release the videos. You do realise that?

Hahaiah said,
Responsibility is Microsoft's. Jesus.

They pulled them within 2 hours of them going online. What more do you want? Jesus? LOL.

I like their attack ads, these 7 obviously crossed a line but their recent Surface vs iPad (some using Siri's voice) are mischievous, funny AND informative.

They recall Apple's "Mac vs PC" ads of times past, and Samsung has done a couple of clever ones in recent years too. "I'm a creative!" "Dude, you're a barista".

james.faction said,

They pulled them within 2 hours of them going online. What more do you want? Jesus? LOL.

To have never published them in the first place.

Auzeras said,
You do realize you're the one lacking intelligence, Microsoft make very little of their advertising media in house, there's no two ways about it.

As .Neo rightly said, they [Microsoft] are somewhat responsible for giving it the go ahead but the people who made this terrible video (and it is terrible, I'm not excusing the horrible "jokes" or bad acting at all) As I said originally, some idiot on a marketing team approved this, and needs to be shot! It looks like it was made by the amatuerest of amatuer media students

Somewhat responsible??? No, they are 100% responsible for the content. If the ad company had published the ad without MS approval, or allowed it to leak then yes, MS is not responsible. But that is not what happened.

The ad was commissioned by Microsoft and then published using Microsoft's name. MS had final review, a Microsoft employee (probably someone at a VP level) looked at these ads and signed off on them before they went public. I applaud them for pulling the ads quickly, but they should have never been published in the first place.