Smoked by Windows Phone Campaign Run Turns Foul… Then Fixed [Update]

[Update: It looks as though Microsoft has realized that the negative publicity gained from this story could potentially affect the effectiveness of their new ad campaign. Ben the PC Guy turned to Twitter to let Katta know that he has a new phone and laptop waiting on him for the misunderstanding.]

Last week we told you that Microsoft upped the stakes on its Smoked by Windows Phone ad campaign by increasing the prize from $100 to a whopping $1,000. Of course, the $1,000 prize was a special edition PC. The campaign advertised as a no-lose situation, since Microsoft would give you a free Windows Phone.

It seems as though the campaign has run into some trouble over the weekend however, as Sahas Katta turned to reddit to explain how he took the challenge and then was refused his prize once he smoked Windows Phone with his Galaxy Nexus.

The challenge as reported by Katta was to pull up the weather in two different cities. He recounts the events on his blog:

The Microsoft Store employee I was up against then explained the selected challenge. Her exact words were the following: “bring up the weather of two different cities.” The one who could do that first would win. I felt like I struck gold since I knew I already had two weather widgets on my home screen: one for my current location (San Jose, CA) and another for Berkeley, CA.

After defeating the employee, Katta was told that he had not won. After pushing for a specific reason, a store manager told him that he lost because the cities were not located in two separate states. It’s interesting to note that the wording was not part of the original challenge, but of course every story on the Internet has two sides.

Participants at CES and other events that were run by Ben the PC Guy most definitely won their prizes, but it seems that since Microsoft has taken over the ad campaign in a more corporate sense, there are rules and stipulations to be had about which challenges can be performed in order to win.

What do you think? Is Microsoft turning a good thing sour by not honoring the win?

[via Reddit]


  • I think it was kinda silly to push this up another notch with bigger prizes and putting it in their stores, because thats when people are going to go in prepared for the kind of challenges they see and hear about happening. When it was just a guy wandering around in public or at events like CES, it’s a much better example of what they are trying to prove.