[Linux-aus] Vista v. Linux Movie

Paul Wayper paul.wayper at anu.edu.au
Tue Feb 6 11:56:01 UTC 2007

Brent Wallis wrote:
> 0. Marketing 101 dictates that any promotional message MUST be
> consistent to the point of "nazi paranoia". Large companies spend big
> bucks to ensure their logos and advertising presence are ALWAYS
> consistent down to the "nanometer". This is a BIG problem when it
> comes to FOSS and Linux marketing because there is NO single "face" to
> show. Removing singularity for the sake of a plural approach is a
> strength in Open Source development, but it is at odds with
> traditional marketing. Inevitably, (wild example from fantasy only...)
> SUSE guys n gals have different ideas on the subject to Debianistas
> whose outlook differs to that of Fedora hackers.....and when the
> debate finishes...everyone just walks away from it.
I think we can agree on a set of common points that _are_ consistent no
matter what distro you use and what applications you run.  Something like:

1) It costs nothing to install and use.
2) You get a huge bunch of software to use for free, as well as the
operating system.  (Apple's iLife and Windows' supplied software are but
a tiny patch on what we offer.)
3) You can give it away to friends and family to use.
4) You get industry-standard, time-test, proven firewall and security
5) You get provably faster security updates and less time vulnerable to
6) You get proven data security and (a certain amount of) freedom from
vendor lock-in.

There are probably others.  And I have no problem with having ads which
don't put a totally consistent, 'everyone must sing from the same
hymnbook' face on what Linux offers.  Human beings are diverse; we learn
and experience in different ways, we find different things attractive
and interesting.  One of the Linux and FLOSS community's greatest
strengths is our diversity of approach.  This should come across in our
presentation.  A hundred people making videos on why they personally
like Linux will 'win more hearts' (IMO) than a single
glossy-but-soulless consistant, conformant approach.

> 2. We live in a world where our target audience mostly don't read
> newspapers and their TV screen time is far and away out done by their
> Internet screen time.

Nonsense.  We aren't going after the wireheads who are glued to their
computers all day.  We're going after the people who use computers (at
home and/or work) and also watch TV, read newspapers, see billboards and
hear radio programmes.  Indeed, I would argue that to advertise only on
the internet is to miss a lot of people who (IMO) need to learn about
the benefits that FLOSS can provide.

> Create something light and funny, something easily understood but most
> off all something that is entertaining and targeted at the normal PC
> user that concentrates solely on the benefits that normal users can
> gain by using Linux. An example of the sort of "attitude" I mean is
> partially  represented by this IPod add on Youtube:
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JJZiZHVovU
> (apologies to any blonds on the list...:-) )
That, to me, is a typical Apple ad.  What's it saying?  Who knows!  It
certainly isn't saying anything good about how easy it is to understand
what an iPod is doing.  To me it's fairly crass and sexist.  Even if you
wanted to buy into a lifestyle inhabited by hip-looking
twenty-somethings, why all of a sudden is an iPod part of that (and one
that you can mistake for a home pregnancy kit, it would seem)?  The ad
certainly doesn't help you there.

I would argue that building the expectation of a style of life, and
creating the need for a product as part of fitting in with that
expectation, is such a 90's marketing tool.  People have wised up to it
- people recognise that trick and discard it.  It's overplayed,
overdone, and there's too much competition for it to be effective now.

But what _is_ working is viral memes, subversive stuff that sees the
underdog win, and seeing 'the truth' behind the corporate gloss.  Yes,
people love to share stuff too, so YouTube and websites are now an
essential delivery tool.  But that doesn't rule out the more common
media we see every day.

I've put my first ideas for Linux vs $PROPRIETARY_OS up on my blog at
http://mabula.net/tbfw/2007/02/06#2007-02-06-the-linux-ads-1 - let me
know what you think (on-list for preference).

Have fun,


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