The ASA has ruled that it's perfectly plausible to claim that Windows 7 was developed by a bunch of rugby players' girlfriends, "private-browsing" dads, and spud-faced kids in Spanish cafes rather than a bunch of highly trained, generously paid developers in Redmond.
The ruling came in response to eight complaints about one of the ads which ran earlier this year: to wit, "Alice's" claim that she invented the concept of recording and watching TV on her laptop after her boyfriend smashed the telly with a badly aimed rugby pass.
According to the ASA, eight complainants "challenged whether the ad was misleading, because it implied that the ability to watch television programmes on a PC was a new technology, when they understood that the feature had been available for several years on other operating systems".
Microsoft's response kicked off by saying that it had no intention of using the ad again, which might be a relief to its developers who are still having to convince their friends and family that Windows 7 really was their idea.
The firm added that it did not believe the ad actually claimed that watching TV via PC was a new idea, or was exclusive to Windows 7, but was simply to raise awareness of the OS's inbuilt capability. It added that Windows 7 was the only broadly available platform which supported both DVB-T and DVB-S without additional software.
Microsoft's agency, Traffic Bureau, added that the ads were "overtly fictitious" with a "comedic tone which portrayed a consumer claiming to be the mastermind behind certain Windows 7 features". It added that Alice's claim was meant to suggest "Microsoft had taken it from her in a deceitful manner". In a comedic and ficticious manner of course.
If this leaves you feeling that having to have the joke explained means it didn't really work, no matter. Microsoft's explanation was wholeheartedly accepted by the ASA, which declared the ad was not misleading. ®