You will get 'Smoked by Windows Phone'

If not for the flu, I would have caught this yesterday: Microsoft has launched a digital-only video ad campaign based on its "Smoked by Windows Phone" contest at this year's Consumer Electronics Show. It's another marketing win for Microsoft, and this has become habit -- and strangely so for a company that just a few years ago showed about as much advertising finesse as a dog scratching fleas.

The video here is a long version. The actual Windows Phone clips appearing on popular tech sites are 15 or 30 seconds. I count four of these and another two-minuter. Microsoft reshot the contests at one of its retail shops, rather than use video from CES.

And whoa, unless my perception is whacko, the exterior shot is Microsoft Store here in San Diego. Had I followed Microsoft's Windows Phone blog closely enough, I would have known that Ben Rudolph and company were here smokin' competing handsets on February 15. Well, hell, I didn't know Fashion Valley mall allowed smoking in stores.

Some advice to Microsoft: Don't stop at the web. Cut 60-second commercials for TV. The concept is fabulous.

"This is just the beginning", says Rudolph, the guy doing the smoking in the videos. "Look for more videos and fun stuff soon!"

I should hope so.

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