Walk like an Egyptian

Content to spark conversation.

Heyo! Thrilled you’re joining me for this week’s newsletter which covers: Wix’s failed marketing attack on Wordpress, Microsoft’s expensive AI acquisition, a flakey case of mistaken identity, and the return of a lost Egyptian city from 3400 years ago.

Now let’s have some fun around here!

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Marketing Minute

Negative ads are risky because of how easily they can backfire. Oftentimes marketers shoot themselves in the foot by failing to read the room — and that’s what Wix did last week.

They launched a “bewildering”, “bizarre” and “distasteful” campaign taking unprompted aim at Wordpress.

A select group of influential Wordpress users were the recipients of this marketing campaign, which kicked off with Bose headphones and a cryptic video message

Confused? You’re in good company.

The shambolic campaign continued with ads that jokingly portrayed the personifications of Wordpress issues as a developer in mental distress and a “grotesquely ill person”.

Cue the blowback

Predictably, this created strong anti-Wix sentiment among the very consumers it was trying to win over; effectively obliterating their social capital in the tech community by sending folks online to express their contempt for Wix.

Nice of the team at Wix to give VW a small reprieve.

Wanna be the hero or villain?

Brands with a great product are more excited to tell you why it’s better — they don’t feel compelled to punch down.

That’s the hallmark of an insecure company with an unimaginative, lazy marketing team. There are very few circumstances where attack ads work, as it’s tricky to strike the right tone without any positive content.

At this point, after eroding their goodwill, Wix will be lucky if this doesn’t prompt a retaliatory user hack.

Tornado Watch 🌪️

When you excel regardless

They may not receive as much press as their more glamorous, consumer-focused contemporaries like Apple and Google, but Microsoft just made a significant move: their second biggest acquisition ever.

Would you like that gift wrapped?

Microsoft just bought Nuance Communications for a whopping $19.7B, dwarfed only by their 2016 purchase of LinkedIn for $26B. Nuance was an attractive buy because of its niche specialization in conversational AI for enterprise healthcare.

Once more with feeling

Microsoft is executing from the same strategic playbook they used when they invested in self-driving cars by getting their Azure cloud service locked in with GM.

This massive AI acquisition will widen and deepen Microsoft’s dominance in the healthcare industry and offer a foothold in ancillary areas.

The slow roll

Unlike other deep-pocketed giants (hi Softbank!), Microsoft is cautious. They know the tech landscape evolves quickly, so they hedge their bets by diversifying risk with smaller investments instead of a big one.

While Microsoft helps these companies grow, they can learn from them and remain a safe distance from the nucleus of developing innovation.

Then Microsoft swoops in to pluck the winner from among the juicy contenders. This forethought, patience and impulse control ensures they don’t end up holding an expensive turd like WeWork.

Hiding in plain sight

Microsoft has been happy to let Apple and Google duke it out in the consumer space because that leaves the enterprise market open for them. As we can see, this strategy is serving them exceptionally well, given that they kicked off their partnership with Nuance in 2019 before the pandemic hit.

Fortuitous timing, eh?

*Insert your own Bill Gates 5G joke here*

(Come on, I can’t do everything for you!)

The gatekeepers

This acquisition has given Microsoft a strong head start to guarantee it will be a tough slog for other tech giants to make meaningful inroads into healthcare. Most importantly, for us it provides valuable insight into the future direction of AI.

It won’t be the idiotic robot pizza maker that changes our lives, but the subtle AI in doctors offices that quietly integrates into daily life. In 10 years, this move by Microsoft will mean more for us than whatever AI the iPhone will have by then.

I’ll Take Two Heaping Spoonfuls of Whatever They’re Having

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a pastry?

Shout out to the lady in Poland who reported a croissant to animal control.

We’ve all been there.

You think you’ve spotted an iguana in the tree above your head. Gah! So you panic and write a “dramatic” Facebook plea to the Krakow Animal Welfare Society saying that folks are afraid to open their windows, lest this beast enter their home.

The offending party?

A croissant.

The scene of the crime?

A lilac tree.

They didn’t flake out

Prompted by a “desperate” phone call following the Facebook post, wildlife officers arrived on scene and discovered that instead of a nefarious iguana, a flakey baked good was the culprit terrorizing an unsuspecting Krakow resident from its perch atop the lilac tree.

Barely able to contain their laughter, the wildlife officers couldn’t wait to get back to the office to blast this whoopsie across the interwebs for all to see.

And to that, I say a hearty thank you for your service because this story has had me chuckling for days.

Enjoy with Enthusiasm

What a boon for archeologists, history and the Egyptian tourism board.

They’ve been trying to entice tourists back to the country by promoting their ancient history since covid hurt the already-sputtering tourism industry.

Let the stampede begin

I’m convinced one of the ancient Egyptian gods must have been a product marketer because this jackpot find is perfectly timed for a campaign rollout to bring visitors rushing back to the country.

The 3400 year old ‘Lost Golden City’ can do the heavy lifting from here on out, as this is the most important discovery since King Tut’s tomb was uncovered in 1922.

Guess it was under wraps

Like any marketing campaign worth its salt, there’s a compelling backstory. Turns out, previous searches for the lost city turned up nothing.

They should’ve called Brendan Fraser, he would have led them straight to it. Duh.

Mummy’s home

Near Luxor — not too far from the Valley of the Kings — and known as Aten, this was the largest ancient city in Egypt. Believed to have been founded by the powerful Amenhotep III, he was in charge while Egypt ruled the world and the empire was at its richest.

Toot-and-come-in

This discovery is profound because it offers deep insight into daily life of how Egyptians lived and worked in their cities.

The site is only partially excavated, but so far they’ve found: storage houses, grinding stones, ovens, meat production locations, a bakery (no word about lurking croissants), jewellery, coloured pottery, scarab beetle amulets and more.

A gift from the gods

Yes, they’ve found “untouched tombs with treasure” so we can probably expect to see sparkly jewels, riches and cool stuff in the coming months.

I’m already sold. Let’s go look at pyramids and this landmark discovery when it’s responsible to do so. In the meantime, we’ll be forced to tour the city by video.

Hey…maybe there’s an ancient Egyptian marketing agency waiting to be uncovered.

Spotify Song of the Week

The vibe this week is “A Million and One Things To Do” by Time Machine

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