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:
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.
If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods or accessories, or if you sell or market products, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators. Wondering why we're talking about something other than iPods? Check the Archives: Backstage has been here and kicking it since 2004.
- Report: iPad Pro to be official name of large iPad, more details revealed
- Mozilla begins rollout of Firefox for iOS preview
- Google releases Google Street View app for iOS
- Apple admits Apple Music still needs work, says iTunes downloads remain strong
- Judge approves $415M settlement in anti-poaching lawsuit
- Report: Apple to debut ‘iPad Pro’ on Sept. 9
- iPhone 6S to use 7000 series aluminum from Apple Watch Sport
- CBS Sports to stream Super Bowl 50, select NFL games on Apple TV
- Report: New Apple TV gets A8 chip, but not 4K support
- Report: New Apple TV will feature universal search, cost $149
- Divoom AuraBox Bluetooth Speaker
- Belkin WeMo + OSRAM Lightify White Tunable Starter Set
- Logitech Logi BLOK cases for iPad mini + iPad Air 2
- IK Multimedia iKlip Case for iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 Plus
- Odoyo KickStand Charging Dock for Apple Watch
- Tech21 Evo Mesh Sport for iPhone 6 and Evo Elite for iPhone 6 Plus
- Thonet & Vander Koloss Bluetooth Speaker
- iHome iSP5 SmartPlug
- Spigen Apple Watch Nightstand S350
- DODOcase Lorna iPhone Wallet Case for iPhone 6 Plus
- A First Look at iOS 9’s Transit in Apple Maps (Updated for watchOS 2)
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iTunes 12.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 8.4 + Apple Music
- CE Week 2015: IK Multimedia, Monowear’s Apple Watch bands + More
- Live From CE Week 2015: Brand New iPad, iPhone + Mac Accessories!
- Opinion: The ‘Grand Experiment’ of shifting to Google Photos
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?