Microsoft this week debuted the first television ad for its Surface Pro 3 tablet, highlighting the device's dual-mode capabilities nicely. Additionally, the firm is making the device available for hands-on evaluation by prospective customers in its retail store locations. Both moves come about two weeks before the first Surface Pro 3 models become available for sale.
You can see the new television ad on YouTube, though it's not available in HD formats for some reason.
The ad is a considerable improvement over the ridiculous Surface TV ads that confused customers over the past few years. But it still has some of the same themes of previous ads, go figure: The ability to carry only one device, for example, and one that can run Microsoft Office.
There is some small type visible onscreen briefly that needs to be understood.
After noting that Surface Pro 3 has "the best writing experience," which is fair since it's true and the pen does come with the device, the ad descends into some marketing murkiness. "An adjustable kickstand," the voiceover says, "a keyboard..." But no keyboard is provided with Surface Pro 3, and Microsoft's Type Cover is a $130 add-on.
"Of course, make it run Microsoft Office," he adds, without explaining that Office is also an add-on that starts at $70 per year for an Office 365 Personal subscription. But business users—the real target market here—will need at least Office 365 Small Business Premium, which is $150 per year.
These are not minor quibbles, and I can't think of a reason why this narration couldn't use language that makes it clear that these things are add-ons. It could say, "add a keyboard," or "add Microsoft Office, now inexpensively priced," or whatever. It would be more honest.
Still. This is a considerable improvement over the awful ads Surface ran previously. And the device's capabilities are fairly communicated, even if the need to spend extra money for a few options are not.
Almost forgot to ad, er add, that Microsoft is now putting Surface Pro 3 demo units in its retail stores in the US and Canada so you can go hands-on and decide for yourself whether this is the device you want. And if it is, don't forget you can preorder Surface Pro 3 now ahead of its June 20 street date.