I’m writing this blog post as I simutaneaously watch Microsoft’s new Internet Explorer commercial turn into viral gold. It’s amazing. In the past five minutes I’ve seen five people comment on it on Facebook and dozens of others share it through Twitter. Not familiar with this new Internet sensation? Here’s the clip:

Clearly, with 1.2 million hits in just two days, Microsoft accomplished what it set out to do with this campaign. They’re making noise. But at what cost?

This video is very well produced. The colors are fun, bright and remind us all of a simpler time. The angles give the story personality and youthful appeal. The music is inspiring and upbeat. The voice over lands us in that warm and fuzzy place where Google and Apple commercials live. The overall tone makes us feel good and human. As a piece of video, it is practically flawless.

But let’s think about this overall strategy for Microsoft. For one minute and thirty seconds they describe a list of items that are no longer real or relevant. About half of the items in that commercial are things todays teenagers are unfamiliar with or would be too embarrassed to be seen with. The point is, it’s dated. And then they put the logo for their product at the end and tell us its just the same as all of these dated things. Microsoft sees this as a selling point for its web browser that is already under scrutiny for being unreliable and archaic? Did no one see the problem with this?

Nostalgia is the new way to reach Generation Y. Thanks to the Internet and social marketing, we’re the most nostalgic generation in history. Microsoft is trying to capitalize on that instead of thinking clearly about their message. It’s a risky strategy, but I can see its value. Instead of trying to compete with the futuristic goals of other browsers, they’ll go the opposite route and get more word of mouth because of it. It worked to get buzz, but it certainly does not make me want to use Internet Explorer.

I see this as a slippery slope for online video. If all we’re trying to do is get something to go viral, the message no longer matters. Storytelling no longer matters. Just add some inspirational music and a young male voice over to your clip and you have an instant favorite. It’s becoming formulaic, and that is alarming. Microsoft should have known that Generation Y, though at first thrilled to get attention by a major software company, will quickly see through its tactics and find this situation comical if anything.

What do you think?

Do you like Microsoft’s new ad? Or did you think it was a misstep for the company? Leave us a comment below or head on over to the VideoBlocks Facebook page and let us know what you think!

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