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MS pulls fake Mac-to-Windows testimonial

Monkey see, monkey get wrong

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An advertisement for Windows ironically mimicking the Mac 'switch' testimonial series (ridiculed here) has been pulled from the MS Web site after its authenticity was questioned by a poster to Slashdot.

Whereas the Mac ads appear to feature everyday computer klutzes speaking in their own words about how impossibly complicated Windows is, the MS ad copy conveyed instead the terrifyingly nonconfrontational, polished tones of the Redmond marketing department's distinctive happyspeak.

The photo of the person MS expected us to trust was that of just another generic, responsible adult, attractive but not sexy, and a far cry from the frighteningly vulnerable and needy Mac lusers featured in the Apple series.

"To my surprise, the process of switching was as easy as the marketing hype had promised. I was up and running in less than one day, Girl Scout's honor," our confident witness tells us.

She's "a freelance writer" who "demands the best in mobile computing," she says. And she makes no bones about urging Windows XP-Pro on everyone because "the extra features for mobile users are worth" the added expense.

"Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 does more for me than Netscape Navigator ever did, and I am a surfing addict. Searches are faster; the History feature makes it easier to find that site from last week; and I can name and organize my Favorites any way I want."

We must remind Netscape to look into this "History" business. IE might be onto something here...

Next we find that our everyday freelance writer is moonlighting on a Windows helpdesk. She gives us flawless, point-by-point instructions for connecting to the Net, setting up our e-mail accounts and importing our e-mail messages, contacts and favorite URLs. She raves about the "New Connection Wizard," which makes multiple accounts a breeze.

"It's like a Lexus we rented once; when you pushed a button, the driver's seat and mirrors all moved to accommodate my 5 foot 3 inches instead of his 6 feet," she enthuses. Truly, a remarkable new Windows user.

Unfortunately the Associated Press' Ted Bridis did some checking up and uncovered a few facts. As it turns out, the so-called 'user experience' came from a PR rep working for a company retained by Microsoft, not from a full-time freelance writer. Her firm, Wes Rataushk & Associates, had actually devised the advertisement for MS.

Nevertheless, the PR rep, or testifying witness, or copywriter, or whatever she is, claims to have actually migrated from a Mac to a Windows PC. Her name is Valerie Mallinson, and she probably doesn't look anything like her picture. ®

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