Get off my lawn.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What in the world?

Here is a link to maybe the stupidest web page ever seen.

If you're too lazy or disinterested to click on the link, here's what it is:
A playset containing action figures from Microsoft, representing various Microsoft products or product suites. There's an action figure called "Office Master", a vaguely oriental-looking bearded guy with a ponytail in a bathrobe, with the MS Office logo on his stomach. There's a "Windows Vista Sensei", a blond/gloved Steven Segall action figure wearing pajamas with the Windows Vista flag on his stomach. There's SQL Server Gal, another vaguely-oriental figurine in night-time clothes. Each figure is accompanied by a bio, telling what kind of food they like to eat, what kind of humanitarian efforts they've been involved in, and how they fight the evil in the world.

I think the bios themselves are the worst. Read the one for "Virtual Labs Guy". He has wheels for feet, see? He likes cars. He likes them so much, in fact, that his favorite band is "The Cars", and his favorite song is "Drive" by The Cars.

You can apparently collect the figurines, as indicated by a link at the top of the page. I didn't click the link to find out what I have to do to get them, because A) I don't want them, and B) if I did, I would probably have to buy something from MS to get them.

The figurines are lame I guess, but it's this page that talks about them that puts it over the top. It's just so... dumb. Who is this supposed to appeal to?

Kids? I have two kids. One is 12, and the other is 5. Both of them would think these figurines were dumb, and give them to the dog to play with.

Dogs? Perhaps. I think my dog might sincerely enjoy chewing up these figurines, but only because he sincerely enjoys chewing up all things. Maybe that's it. Microsoft's target audience is dogs.

Grown-ups? I don't know a single adult who would look at these and think "Oh look! A cute promotional gimmick. I've got to buy SQL Server right now!" Surely there's no hope that someone would be compelled to spend money on something because of these things.

Remember the Christmas movie that featured the Abominable Snowman, Rudolph, and the elf that wanted to be a dentist? In the movie, they all go to the island of misfit toys and talk to a train with square wheels, a doll with a hog's face, and a boat with bulldozer tracks. Well, what they didn't talk about in the movie is that in the "Misfit Toys Island" universe, Bulldozer Boat and co. are actually the cool toys. They're weird, but likable and unique, with their square wheels, bulldozer tracks, and shrieking voices. People remember them.

The movie doesn't tell you about the toys on the other side of the island. That's where the Happy Meal toys live. The Happy Meal toys are not unique, and no one remembers them. Even if people wanted to, they couldn't. They serve no function, they're not well-made, and sometimes they don't even manage to depict objects that make sense. (I saw a Happy Meal once where the toy was a little plastic tree stump.) They also smell a little like toxic fumes. They don't really have much of a reason to exist, except to add weight to a box of food at McDonald's and give my daughter a reason to say that McDonald's is a great place to eat (okay, maybe they do have a point).

Now imagine that this bunch of figurines from Microsoft shows up on Misfit island in their oriental pajamas, to tout their MS Certifications and set up a SharePoint server. I think the poor Happy Meal toys would come out of the shadows, and beat up and ostracize the MS figurines.