Microsoft launched two "Hulu-esque" online TV spots this week that star Dean Cain, the actor known as Superman from the TV series "Lois & Clark." The spots are a bit surreal, much like the Hulu commercials that have were released earlier this year. The two spots, named F.O.M.S. (Fear Of Missing Something) and S.H.Y.N.E.S.S. (Sharing Heavily Yet Not Enough Sharing Still), are in support of Internet Explorer 8 (IE8), released in its final version on March 19th of 2009.
It's unclear if Microsoft is experiencing low download rates for IE8, or are simply running the spots to support the new software in a more competitive environment. The IE8 browser is chock-full-o-features that include new malware protection, a discrete browsing mode (for those that need to hide their searches) and greater tab control. One of the best features is that when the browser crashes, it only restarts that particular tab, leaving the rest of the tabs operating normally. However, there are problems with IE8, such as it has to run in "compatibility mode" to read a majority of websites, and it is not as fast as the sparsely-featured Google Chrome browser.
The ads do nothing to dispel these irregularities, and instead are somewhat humorous takes on personal browsing habits. Both of the spots are featured on YouTube, as well as below. F.O.M.S features a woman frantic over missing a bid on EBay, while S.H.Y.N.E.S.S. enables people that send crap over the internet to send it faster using one of IE8's accelerators. (great...)
The campaign, if it can be called such, is masquerading as a set of PSAs that are promoting BrowserfortheBetter.com, which is a landing page devoted to the new browsers. What's great about downloading IE8 from this page is that for every download, Microsoft will donate eight meals to Feeding America, the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity.
Whether a humanitarian effort or a sales ploy to get the browsers downloaded, the result is the same: food for the hungry. And for this, Microsoft deserves recognition.