Microsoft wants to be the hipsterdouche’s best friend

I’m so over this obsession with the trendy hipster subculture that all marketing departments for tech companies seem to have.  Are douchey, hoodie-wearing guys with scraggly beards and morose girls with black-rimmed glasses the only people who might want to buy one of their products?

Not to mention that, as the article points out, Microsoft targeted hipsters with their first Zune advertising which was later blamed for its shitty sales.  Interestingly enough, Apple has been targeting these people with their marketing for years and it’s worked like a charm, judging by all the sullen hipsters seen with MacBooks in coffeeshops all over the country.  Maybe this population isn’t ready for market segmentation quite yet…

If there’s one word that comes to mind when you see Microsoft’s Kin marketing materials—the flashy new website, the swish tubular packaging, typography-heavy imagery, or the images, events and information loaded up on their demo devices—it’s hipster. The citizens of Kin live in Vice Magazine advertorial spreads, and look like they just walked, self-consciously, out of an Urban Outfitters. Kin’s models look like caricatures of those kids, from that neighborhood, in pretty much any city, as drawn by marketing executives.

Microsoft wants Kin to be cool. And to the extent that blunt HERE’S WHO THIS IS FOR marketing can make something cool, they might be able to pull it off. And I get that Microsoft is segmenting their phones, catering Windows Phone 7 to an older audience and the social network-centric Kin to the 16-to-25s, (Wilson’s sterling analysis here), but it’s turning out so much more narrow than that: Kin aims for a type of “cool” which hinges entirely on touchstones of a bizarrely specific subculture.


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