Microsoft, in their inevitable push to become a major player in “the cloud”, has invested heavily in marketing their Office 365 product online. Unfortunately, their copywriters left some ambiguity in the copy that can lead to harmless misinterpretation of their meaning.
The tagline reads, Your complete office in the cloud. Marketing jargon, yes. That’s to be expected when pushing a product. Microsoft intelligently capitalized on two popular buzzwords—office and cloud—to attract attention, yet they did something wrong.
What Should We Understand?
Have you ever read the statement, I saw an elephant sitting on a fence? The statement reads innocently enough, until the reader discovers how risible such a scene would be. Then, visualizing the scene, it becomes obvious that what was read, and understood, might not have been what transpired:
Was an elephant observed perched atop a fence, or
did I observe an elephant while I was seated on a fence?
Microsoft’s Office 365 campaign faces the same dilemma. What are they telling us about their product? What are we to understand about an office and the cloud? There are two possible interpretations:
Microsoft offers a better, all-inclusive “office in the cloud,” and
they offer a “complete office,” which is available in the cloud.
Make it Plain
Microsoft is offering an end-to-end solution for mobile collaboration. Microsoft also offers document creation online. We understand that. Still, which of the two options above is correct? I believe it’s the second option. This could be settled with one character: a comma. Look:
Your complete office, in the cloud.
Adding a comma introduces a pause and clarifies the statement. This makes it clear that everything you know and love about Microsoft Office is available in the cloud. There, I fixed it.