Microsoft released its Zune music player today, a device that the company hopes will challenge the supremacy of the Apple iPod.
In an effort to ensure wide distribution of the device and to leverage its “It’s the social” marketing campaign featuring heroin-chic actors rockin’ out to the Zune, Microsoft has made a bold distribution choice.
In addition to selling the Wi-Fi-enabled Zune through normal retail channels and online, the Zune will also be sold nationally through pushers of heroin and opium derivatives.
“Hey, I’ve got the real stuff, just $399, it’s smokin’ sweet, and brown, real brown,” said one such salesperson encountered on a street in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District.
He declined to provide his name and when asked basic questions about the Zune’s capacity, battery life, and limitations on music exchange, the dealer said, “I’ll cut you!” and moved on.
Analysts fear that some of the target audience – largely 18 to 45, middle-class, white, unmusical individuals with a body-mass index of 25 and higher – may be uncomfortable purchasing their products in cash on unlit streets littered with broken bottles and reeking of urine.
“Hey, that’s how many people buy their first car,” said Zune Product Manager Scott Erickson. Erickson said that his personal car purchase experience was actually much less comfortable and higher pressure.
Responding to criticism of the decision, Erickson said that Microsoft was simply engaging in creative target marketing, as its market research had concluded that anyone interested in buying a Zune would have to already be high on crack.
Zune purchasers can expect follow-up calls, visits, and attacks from the pusher channel, which will demand additional Zune-related purchases every five to 10 days, including music, accessories, additional players, items that fell off trucks, and actual drugs.
In some instances they may move in to your house and use it as a base of operations.
While Microsoft’s new distribution channel has raised some concerns from analysts, another Zune marketing choice is being hailed as a stroke of genius.
According to reviews, all error messages in the Zune software will feature pictures of “girl next door” types engaged in hot lesbian action.
“Users will actually come to want their Zune to crash,” predicted Erickson.
“Which, admittedly, they shouldn’t have to wait long for.”
The Zune went on sale today and large quantities are still reported to be available in all channels.