Friday, June 19, 2009

Browser for the better: Microsoft's attempt to feed America?

Text in white box says:
"For every download of Windows Internet Explorer 8 from this site, we will donate 8 meals to Feeding America to help accelerate an end in hunger in this country. Internet Explorer 8 is completely free and comes with exciting new features including Accelerators, Web Slices and In-Private Browsing. To learn more about Internet Explorer 8, click here."

While it is a very commendable action taken by Microsoft, but I've got a question with regards to the positioning of the Microsoft brand in this 'seemingly' noble and innocent cause. When I read it. The first thing that came to my mind, is how a noble intention can backfire and tarnish the brand. So you're Microsoft. You're big. And you can feed a lot a lot a lot of Americans anytime. For free (because you said Internet Explorer 8 IS downloadable for free). But you're not doing it. Because we're not downloading it. I can't help but carry this image of poor hungry Americans being held hostaged in my head. So whether THESE people got fed, depends on whether WE google with IE 8?! That's absurd!

While we're not saying that it's a bad idea. But I think the angle of communication could be better. We've talked so much about social business. Profitable social business with no unnecessary guilt trips. So yea, I do understand that downloading IE8s IS profitable business to Microsoft. But to hold people (hungry ones and internet users) as hostages? Hmm. Bad idea. Perhaps it could have been better, if the brand had 'partnered' users in a different way to feed America? Perhaps it could be as simple as, taking the first step to feed 10,000 hungry Americans EVERY DAY, and for every extra download, we'll donate more meals? Or prolong the feeding program? I just think it's a really bad idea to put a condition to doing charity. If there is a 'if you do this, then I'll do that' clause then it's not very charitable anymore is it? There is no such thing as conditional charity! You either do or do not. The 'bigger' person (in this case, is big ol' Microsoft) should just take the lead and make that change.

Well, you be the judge.

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