Welcome to the Social = Join the Welfare Line, Zune | iLounge Backstage


Welcome to the Social = Join the Welfare Line, Zune

Playwright George Bernard Shaw has said that “England and America are two countries divided by a common language,” and as I’m based in the U.K., I know this only too well. In the U.S., you leave out the letter “u” from a lot of words, and pants have a whole different meaning over there. This causes no end of headaches for the EIC, as he has to “correct” my English for the site’s readership, but at least I can claim to be bilingual now - I can type in U.S. and U.K. English.

Case in point: global marketing slogans. Apple seems to understand them: when it launches an iPod, the slogan is simple and unambiguous - “1000 songs in your pocket.” No real issues with “pocket” meaning anything other than a small pouch-like compartment, most likely in your clothes. But Microsoft has now trotted out its new slogan for Zune: “Welcome to the Social.” Or as it appears on the Zune’s package, which you can see opened up by General Manager of Marketing for Microsoft (and British ex-pat) Chris Stephenson:

to the

Try to ignore all the spin that went into the little video (brown is the new black? Where did they draw their focus groups from? Gardeners?), and just focus on that phrase. For American audiences - the target audience for the Zune, according to MacDailyNews -  this is just a way of saying “welcome to the party” or “welcome to the community.” But here in the U.K., “the social” is a phrase used to denote that someone is claiming benefits from Social Security, such as housing allowance, unemployment benefit or other state handout - “they’re on the social.” In other words, buy a Zune and it’s “welcome to the welfare line,” first thing out of the box.

Such a tagline only makes sense if you realize that Microsoft never sticks with one marketing message for too long, and apparently wasn’t planning to release a Zune player in the United Kingdom until 2008, at least, according to Microsoft’s U.K. Media Director Gordon Frazer. By the time it is released on this side of the pond, the company could have dreamed up all sorts of new slogans, any one of which might seem less amusing than this one. Mind you, the choice of name was a bad one, not just because of the widely-reported Hebrew and Québécois meanings of the word, but for some reason Zune reminds me of throat lozenges. Ones with a nice honey center. And the possible gaffes do not end there.

On a serious note, I’m actually hoping that the Zune arrives in the U.K. before 2008, and that in a way it ensures that Apple does not rest on its laurels. Competition is good and healthy competition is even better. As long as it’s not brown.

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That’s hilarious.  Good stuff.

I’m sure you meant to say “In the U.K., you add the letter ‘u’ to a lot of words” but other than that…

Posted by papayaninja on November 4, 2006 at 4:20 PM (CST)


Well, we invented the language, so technically you are removing the ‘U’s.

Posted by Steve on November 4, 2006 at 5:07 PM (CST)


12+ months is a long time in the world of technology for a Zune launch outside the US! Apple must be pleased with the Microsoft “global” marketing strategy…

Posted by mscvan on November 4, 2006 at 6:50 PM (CST)


It just seems like a huge waste of time to me for Microsoft. They should really be competing against the Nano, not the full sized iPod. Zune is HUGE! It looks bigger than the 1st Generation iPod. “Welcome To The Social”....yeah, right. I think I’ll pass. I can’t remember hearing a lamer tag line for a product this year.

Posted by Tenchi211 in California on November 4, 2006 at 9:01 PM (CST)


Good stuff, but do the folks who live in the UK remove the “e” in gaffe? And, what do they mean when they say someone went “to hospital”? What happened to “the”?

Posted by KenC on November 4, 2006 at 10:00 PM (CST)


Guys… I mean, fellows, everyone know that prior to 1776 English history and American history were the same, hence the English did not invent the language, WE invented the language. Of course, since Daniel Webster, only Americans speak it properly.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Posted by Richard Taylor on November 4, 2006 at 10:25 PM (CST)


Oops, I meant, “everyone knows…”

Posted by Richard Taylor on November 4, 2006 at 10:26 PM (CST)


That’s strange, because I always thought English was a subtle derivation from French.

Posted by Pindakaas on November 5, 2006 at 1:51 AM (CST)


You’re thinking of Lockets with the honey centre .... you need Tunes to get your British Rail ticket, or whatever it was. Or you could listen to Amateur Transplants today and listen to their advice for what to do with your Oyster Card.

Zune? The first thing that struck me is that this is a “me too” music player. It’s the Zzzzzzzzzzzz-une.

Posted by Mike Peter Reed on November 5, 2006 at 7:18 AM (CST)


lol, that brightened up my day. specially the americans claiming they speak real english :P
Americans remove the ‘U’ and various other letters from words. ‘Spell things how you say ‘em’ is the motto of american english.
Not everyone here says we ‘go to Hospital’, but technically, its correct, as hospital is the place name. Unless we’re talking like Borat and his ‘i go to the americas!’...

we speak english.
and congrats to micrsoft…

Posted by Daniel Nicholls on November 5, 2006 at 7:38 AM (CST)


English comes from a lot of places, but the original source language actually comes from an area of what is now Holland/The Netherlands. Certainly not from French! *lol*

Posted by Species 8472 on November 5, 2006 at 9:31 AM (CST)


The ‘gaff’ was indeed meant to be ‘gaffe’ and my gaffe has been corrected. But then it was a word derived from French…

And true “Lockets” do have a liquid honey centre/center but let’s not pick too many holes! ;-)

Posted by Bob Levens in UK on November 5, 2006 at 9:57 AM (CST)


Well, England did borrow a considerable number of words from French, and more than a few grammatical features.

And Americans do not remove Us, and Britons do not add Us.  Americans follow conventions of American Standard English.  Britons follow conventions of British English.  They’re different dialects; neither is “correct.”

That said, the Zune is laughable.

Posted by patkelly on November 5, 2006 at 3:38 PM (CST)


I think the fact we have been invaded by the Romans, the Angles, the Saxons, the Vikings, the Normans all add to the rich tapestry of the English Language. 
The Spanish even had a try as did the Germans so we could be even more confused!

Posted by Bob Levens in UK on November 6, 2006 at 5:17 AM (CST)


to the


Hyphenated word in a headline?
Hyphenation is for body copy, as when you are reading through a lot of text your eye mentally blanks out the hyphens, but in a headline it just looks odd…

What did they do this in, Word?

Posted by gagravaar on November 6, 2006 at 8:31 AM (CST)


No idea - but did nobody at Zune HQ ask the question “Can we make the box a bit bigger or reduce the size of the font?”......

Posted by Bob Levens in UK on November 6, 2006 at 10:48 AM (CST)


As an English Major, I’m enjoying this thread….

The English Language is a conglomeration of a great many languages…Anglo-Saxon “Old English” is germanic in its origin, while the invasion of the Normans (read: FRENCH) meant that french words slowly ingrained themselves into the language…...Niether British or American English is “Wrong” or “right”...merely different dialects, as was mentioned above.

And on the Zune:  “Welcome to the Social?” Welcome to the social WHAT?  Welcome to the Music Social or the Dance Social would make more sense. 

And I was deeply amused that the Zune’s box opens in a similar manner to the old cube boxes that Apple used to use, right down the lettering on the flap that you open…

Posted by Cameron T. on November 6, 2006 at 9:30 PM (CST)


“And I was deeply amused that the Zune’s box opens in a similar manner to the old cube boxes that Apple used to use, right down the lettering on the flap that you open…”

That’s a good point Cameron T. I forgot about that. No origianilty AT ALL on Microsoft’s part.

Posted by Tenchi211 in California on November 9, 2006 at 2:18 PM (CST)


Why did iLounge buy the domain zunelounge.com? Are you guys gonna launch zunelounge.com”

Posted by jamesd on November 11, 2006 at 12:54 PM (CST)


Even if iLounge wasn’t going to launch ZuneLounge, it is probably smart of them to snap the domain up to prevent someone else from creating an iLounge ripoff for the Zune, and capitalizing on the “lounge” branding, etc. that iLounge has established.

I personally wouldn’t hold it against them if they did create a ZuneLounge site though; if the Zune becomes popular enough to warrant it, I’d probably rather that the iLounge guys get a piece of that pie too rather than losing out to some other site.

Posted by Zadillo on November 12, 2006 at 12:55 PM (CST)


Answer: no.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on November 13, 2006 at 5:30 PM (CST)


And how about the hello from seattle bit?

Isnt it ironic that apple’s mail.app ‘s icon, if you look closely enough, has the phrase Hello from cupertino on the stamp?  Not saying that MS copied it from there, but I still do appreciate the irony, considering how MS dropped their model of mp3 players, to adopt a model similar to ipod+itunes.

And I dont know why, the hello from seattle bit creeps me out.  Its like suddenly i have this unknown, unwanted intruderin my house.

Posted by vard on November 21, 2006 at 2:49 AM (CST)

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