New Microsoft Campaign Underscores Consumers' Privacy Concerns

Microsoft's new ad campaign focuses on user privacy, appealing to customers' desire to control what information they share on the web. The campaign contrasts Microsoft against Google, which has come into conflict with the US and European authorities recently over privacy violations. Adweek reports Microsoft's timing is prescient: This campaign comes as the advertising industry is facing criticism from the US Senate over it's failure to live up to voluntary online tracking standards.

Some companies have learned the hard way that knowing too much about your customer (and letting them know it) is creepy. Microsoft's campaign capitalizes on consumer concerns, but other companies should take note of the underlying message. Customers want to connect with brands, but they want to do it on their own terms. Campaign elements such as ad retargeting and social media need to be set up so that they engage prospects but don't make them feel like they are being stalked across the internet. Nobody likes overly-pushy salespeople in real life, and if visitors think you are getting too close online they won't like you there, either.

Read more about Microsoft's campaign from Adweek, TechCrunch, and on the Windows blog.