Mobile

Smoked by Windows Phone contest is a red-hot success, despite controversy

Microsoft’s Smoked by Windows Phone campaign — in which consumers battle their smartphones against Windows Phones in various speed contests — has been a smashing success for the company, generating over 100 million consumer impressions across a variety of media.

The numbers come from Microsoft evangelist Ben Rudolph, also known as Ben the PC Guy, who has been spearheading the campaign. It’s a good sign for Microsoft, which received a lot of flack for a recent incident in which one Android user was reportedly cheated out of the contest by MS store employees. Rudolph has since apologized to that user and offered up a free laptop and Windows Phone.

Other highlights of the Smoked by Windows Phone campaign: Over 50,000 smartphones tried to take on Windows Phones, and Microsoft’s platform won over 98 percent of the challenges. The campaign’s YouTube videos have generated over 8 million views on YouTube, and they also appear in two of YouTube’s Top 5 lists.

Microsoft launched the contest at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, in an effort to show how much faster Windows Phone can perform certain tasks. It has since evolved into a larger marketing campaign to show up its smartphone rivals. Microsoft initially offered a $100 prize to potential winners, but as of this weekend it has ramped up the prize to a laptop worth $1,000. (Losers also have the option of getting a free Windows Phone.)

While Smoked by Windows Phone certainly helped to get the word out about the mobile platform, it was evident from the beginning that Microsoft had the distinct advantage in many of the tests. They often took advantage of key Windows Phone features, like the camera button and live tiles, and didn’t give competing customers much of a warning to prepare their phones for the contests.

Ultimately, there was always something gimmicky and circus-like about the contest that rubbed me the wrong way. And while it may have generated more consumer awareness of Windows Phone, it’s tough to tell just what people think of the platform now. They’re certainly not buying Windows Phones en masse — despite the Lumia 900 being one hell of a deal.

Photo: Sean Ludwig/VentureBeat


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