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Who is Inori Aizawa and how will she save Microsoft users?

Published November 18, 2013 at 1:23 pm

It’s not difficult to see why Google Chrome has cut so deeply into Microsoft’s 58 percent market share for internet browsers among desktop users. Internet Explorer remains the most popular browser, but Chrome users are able to more easily access other Google functions—search and Gmail—much easier than they can through IE.

Now Microsoft is fighting back, and it’s chosen a unique first strike against the competition.

The company has rested its hopes on a Japanese anime character named Inori Aizawa, who stars in a new advertisement that debuted last week. Aizawa is described by Creative Bloq as “a magical girl drawn in the Japanese fantasy anime style” who “changes into a costume that gives her superpowers to defeat viruses.”

The advertisement lays the metaphor on thick, with Aizawa playing the role of Microsoft, defending users from malware and spam, played by robots.

The only explicit indication that Aizawa is fighting on Microsoft’s behalf? An IE pin in her hair.

“When I was younger, I used to be a clumsy, slow and awkward girl,” the character says. “However, just like the story of ugly duckling, people told me that I have really matured and changed over the years. I feel confident in my abilities now, and I’m eager to show you what I can do.”

Read between the lines and it should be clear that Aizawa is at least in some way referring to Microsoft itself.

Will the ad be enough to convince users to turn back to the tried-and-true Internet Explorer, or has Microsoft already lost the war to Chrome, Safari, Firefox and others? Probably not by itself, but it does show that Microsoft is dedicated to stemming back the tide of the competition through an unorthodox marketing campaign.

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