An online ad for Internet Explorer 8 that showed a woman projectile vomiting has left such a bad taste in viewers’ mouths that Microsoft has decided to remove it.
The ad, which features American actor Dean Cain and shows a woman vomiting after seeing her husband’s Web browsing history, is still available via YouTube. However, Microsoft has removed it from the IE8videos channel on YouTube and the BrowsefortheBetter.com site. That site is part of Microsoft’s campaign to promote IE8.
The ad was meant to promote Microsoft’s InPrivate browsing feature of its new Web browser, which allows people to erase their history so other people can’t see where they’ve been on the Web.
This plays well into the fear of having embarrasing online activities made public and the growing concern over the way new Internet-based technologies are using people’s personal data. In Brussels for instance, the European Commission began legal action against the U.K. over its failure to protect Internet users from Phorm — a covert behavioral advertising technology and Google’s “behavioral advertising” has been slammed by privacy groups.
However, Microsoft’s ad instead provoked widespread revulsion from many viewers, some of whom doubted the video could have been made by Microsoft because it was so disgusting. Microsoft has had a spotty marketing reputation. Among Microsoft’s most noted fumbles last year were the Seinfeld/Gates ads.
“This must be a fake,” read one comment by a user called “originalrecipes” on YouTube. “Probably made by some Apple crazy fans. This is not made by Microsoft. No way.”
“Bad taste,” wrote another YouTube user called “CUTV.” “Microsoft, I try to like you, but you make it so hard.”
Others, however, found the ad humorous, and some even used it to poke fun at Microsoft. “I’d puke too if I was using IE,” was the comment from the user called “lucarescigno.”
In the ad, a man passes his PC to his wife when she asks to borrow it. After she sees what he’s been viewing, she loses her breakfast at the table and then vomits on him after he’s slipped and fallen on what she has expelled.
Actor Cain provides a commentary about suffering from “Oh my God I’m going to puke” (OMGIGP) when sharing a computer with someone who may be viewing offensive Web sites.
In a statement sent via e-mail Thursday, Microsoft confirmed it removed the ad — one in a series to promote IE8 — based on viewer feedback, and meant no harm in it.
“We make a point of listening to our customers,” according to Microsoft. “We created the OMGIGP video as a tongue-in-cheek look at the InPrivate Browsing feature of Internet Explorer 8, using the same irreverent humor that our customers told us they liked about other components of the Internet Explorer 8 marketing campaign. While much of the feedback to this particular piece of creative was positive, some of our customers found it offensive, so we have removed it.”