It had the most modest of beginnings. Starting as something of a sideshow at January’s Consumer Electronics Show, it seemed like Microsoft's fun little 'Smoked by Windows Phone' contests had all but come to an end by 21 January, when Microsoft posted a final ‘best of’ compilation video on its Windows Phone Blog.
But the idea quickly gained a life beyond the confines of CES, as Microsoft employees began using similar tactics to promote Windows Phone elsewhere. Clearly seeing the real-world potential of the idea, Microsoft soon rolled out the campaign on a much wider scale, and posted plenty of videos online to remind people of the platform’s success against its rivals.
But then, disaster struck. Controversy mired the campaign as multiple contestants claimed to have fairly won the challenge, but had been denied their prizes. Microsoft worked hard to undo the damage of the negative publicity – which spread rapidly across the blogosphere and into mainstream media – and managed to resolve many of the complaints swiftly and decisively. Such was its success in doing so that it decided to extend the campaign’s run twice.
But now, Smoked by Windows Phone has drawn to a close – on April 12, officially – and today, the company revealed the final results for the challenges that took places in its Microsoft Stores across the US. Declaring that it racked up 40,522 wins, against just 462 losses, the final tally gives it a success rate of 98.9%.
But the spirit of Smoked by Windows Phone lives on elsewhere. Nokia has introduced its own version – ‘Blown Away by Lumia’ – with sometimes amusing results. Windows Phone UK, meanwhile, has challenged the British public to ‘Dare to Live’, offering a £20 on-the-spot prize for a win, but daring losers to take part in a high-adrenaline challenge – such as walking a tightrope, or trying the 'reverse bungee' of the Big Air – if their handset gets ‘spanked by Windows Phone’.