When bootleg versions of Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 ads emerged a couple of weeks ago, there was, at the very least, a raising of the eyebrows and a twitch of a toenail.
Here was Microsoft apparently daring to launch an anti-phone, one that somehow returns you to a more human, self-aware, pre-cell-phone state.
This seemed pleasantly ambitious, like a beach vacation on which there will be only 10 other people on the beach and they will all be beautiful, interesting, and love baseball.
Now that two officially sanctioned ads have emerged, different in content from the leaked affairs, but humming the same theme, they do nothing to lessen a sense of, at the very least, hope.
Some might wonder why Microsoft would be telling people to quit obsessing over their cell phones while trying to sell them a cell phone.
But at least the company is offering an emotional truth. It's also offering a look to the OS which, on the face of the phone, is distinctive and seems simpler than a first glance at an Android phone or even the iPhone.
While words such as "always delightful and wonderfully mine" aren't words that have always emerged from Microsoft executive lips, hearing them at yesterday's launch suggested the company knows it must attempt to regain a hold on people's touchy-feely parts. And to do that, ads and product have to hold hands and skip along together like little girls through a cornfield.
These new ads tease the promise of a simpler, more enjoyable, dare one say it, less techie world by offering a phone that is designed to look, feel, and behave in a simpler, more enjoyable, less techie way.
Yes, the iPhone's been doing this brilliantly for a long time now. But the acknowledgment that the human side is vital is, from Microsoft, like a smile emerging from the lips of a Swiss Guard.
The truly difficult part is that this OS is called Windows something.
The Windows name is redolent of function not fun, entrapment not enjoyment. If the intention is to suggest a simple revolution, why use a name that suggests a simple continuation? To truly deliver what the company needs, I wish they had created a new brand to express this new attitude. A brand that could be as strong and independent as its Xbox.
However, if real people see these ads, then pick up the phones and discover that the feeling-- as opposed to the mere functionality-- is delivered, then Microsoft has a chance to make an impact. Really. No, really.