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typodupeerror Newspaper Ad Mockup Released 413

Benjamin Horst writes "The volunteer effort raising $10,000 to place at least two backpage ads in New York City's free daily paper Metro is now entering its second full week. We've collected over 10% of our goal already and continue to find new pledge donors at a healthy pace. Our project's purpose is to help 'cross the chasm' and bring awareness of 2.0 to the large number of computer users who stand to benefit from its broad feature set and range of useful capabilities. This is not the first time an open source project has sought a high-profile newspaper ad buy. In fact, our effort was directly inspired by the Firefox New York Times ad. Firefox's famous effort announcing its arrival on the world stage helped push it from about 10 million downloads to its current tally of over 185 million!"
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  • Is it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gerbalblaste ( 882682 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:24PM (#15609978) Journal
    Is it really worth the money?
    • Re:Is it (Score:5, Interesting)

      by c_fel ( 927677 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:27PM (#15609992) Homepage
      I dont think so especially with the poor design they show on their mockup. Personnally I find this ad totally non-informative. More, maybe it's because I'm canadian but I think the "They'd download it" is totally inapropriate. Hell, they'd not download it, they don't know what's a computer.

      My 0.02$.
      • Re:Is it (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mboverload ( 657893 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:45PM (#15610069) Journal
        I agree, it's pretty horrible. I'd consider donating if they came up with a really nice one like Firefox had.

        Then again they need to improve their product more before they launch it. Making it less bloated than Microsoft Office is a good goal. I mean...come on? Slower than Office? How is that possible?

        • Re:Is it (Score:5, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:53PM (#15610112)
          Slower than Office? How is that possible?

          • Re:Is it (Score:3, Informative)

            by alshithead ( 981606 ) *
            Actually I'm using OpenOffice on a Windows XP system and it is slower than Office. My wife is using Office 2003 and it is faster on comparable hardware. That does NOT mean OpenOffice is the lesser application. It does everything I need it to and it didn't cost a cent. Meanwhile, I hate waiting but what the hell, an extra half a minute here and there doesn't amount to much for something that's FREE.
        • Re:Is it (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @10:27PM (#15610260) Homepage
          Problem is they put almost ZERO effort into the AD. It looks as cheezy as a mid 80's Cable TV advertisment. Hell the Comcast "Comcastic" ad's have less cheeze level than this does.

          Getting a student or two at an art school to make a top notch advert worthy of a back page ad on a newspaper is really stinking easy.. Most students kill for something to put on their resume and having it published is even a bigger bonus to get the students signing up.

          The Mock-up is worse than some of the low refinance rates flash ad's all over the net (Gawd that moster playing a love song one sucks worse than most flash animations on

          If they want to do this they nered to first get a national newspaper class add created. Not that hard and will cost nothing if they apprioach it right. THEN go asking for money.
          • Re:Is it (Score:5, Funny)

            by OECD ( 639690 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @10:47PM (#15610333) Journal

            Getting a student or two at an art school to make a top notch advert worthy of a back page ad on a newspaper is really stinking easy..

            Given that the credits read "Design by ..." I suspect this is exactly what they're going to do. They could have made it a bit more obvious, though.

            • Re:Is it (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Moqui ( 940533 )
              I know a few of us are working on alternative proposals for the team. They gave it the good freshman try, but there are plenty of designers that use the software that will step up to the challenge.

              First to go -- Yellow background and floating picture... :)
            • Re:Is it (Score:5, Insightful)

              by omeg ( 907329 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @01:37AM (#15610908)
              Yes, they probably are. But PLEASE don't! There are billions of design students, but only a few of them will be able to make anything that looks even remotely professional. The team is much better off searching on until they find someone who can provide them with a real design. Afterall, I can attest to the fact that a lot of design students are also just idiots who only learned how to download Adobe Illustrator last month. They usually don't learn what good design is until years of working in their second or third studio.

              If a badly designed ad (with bad humor) ends up in any newspaper, it will make sure that a lot of people will NOT get the product. They will just think of the Mt. Rushmore and the horrible tagline ("They'd download it").

              No marketing is infinitely better than bad marketing!
          • Re:Is it (Score:5, Funny)

            by boingo82 ( 932244 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:12PM (#15610434) Homepage
            What are you talking about? As a former graphic artist at a newspaper, I know as well as anyone that Helvetica 55 roman is where it's at!
            All that ad needs is a few gradients, 1pt boxes around all the text, and some drop-shadows, and it's ready to go!
          • ew (Score:5, Funny)

            by tbird81 ( 946205 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @02:03AM (#15610973)
            it looks like the ad was made with openoffice.
        • Re:Is it (Score:5, Insightful)

          by gravis777 ( 123605 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @10:51PM (#15610350)
          Its awful. It looks like someone came up with it in about 5 minutes. The whole Mt. Rushmore thing is totally inappropriate, it might actually drive people AWAY from the product. The ad is totally uninformative. I truthfully think a frontal attack on the big office packages, something along the lines of "Why pay $600 bucks for MS Office when you can get our product which does the same thing for free" or something similar to be much more effective. Shoot, even those AWFUL Sprite commercials are better than this. I would have to say tha this ad is one of the biggest disappointements the open source community has delivered in a while
          • Re:Is it (Score:5, Interesting)

            by LouisZepher ( 643097 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:32PM (#15610507)
            Indeed. How about this? A chalkboard with two basic addition-style columns. In the first, list what MS Office can do, in the other, list in similar order everything OpenOffice does. At the bottom of each column, where the answer would go in a problem, list the price ($600 vs Free). Then, in an area outside the frame of the chalkboard, simply say "Do the math" or something...
      • Re:Is it (Score:5, Informative)

        by Sen.NullProcPntr ( 855073 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:48PM (#15610091)
        "I dont think so especially with the poor design they show on their mockup. Personnally I find this ad totally non-informative. More, maybe it's because I'm canadian but I think the "They'd download it" is totally inapropriate. Hell, they'd not download it, they don't know what's a computer."

        From the fine web page;

        "Your comments and feedback are requested and encouraged. Please submit them to the Google Group mentioned above so that all interested volunteers can participate in the discussion."

        I don't know, it kind of looks like something you would see in a newspaper but if you can do better - let them know [] about it!

        • Re:Is it (Score:4, Insightful)

          by babbling ( 952366 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:05PM (#15610406)
          Some things I think should be in the ad:
          - A screenshot of the UI.
          - Emphasis on it being a free (in price, since businesses care about that more) Office suite that can import/export MS Office files.
          - Emphasis on it being able to completely replace MS Office.
          - A "download it for free from" and then a URL.
          • Re:Is it (Score:5, Insightful)

            by jaseparlo ( 819802 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:25AM (#15610701) Homepage
            Some things that should not be in the ad:

            * Performance metrics V MS Office (Even more so in the PPC Mac version!)
            * Comparison of Clipart and Wordart features (My kids won't use OOo cos it has none)
            * Cost/Benefit in switching from a version of Office that people/companies already own

            As far as I can see, the difference between Firefox and OOo is that FF was a distinctly superior product, that filled a gap left by the poor features, security and function of IE. OOo on the other hand fills the same niche as MS Office, but is free. Both of them are massive bloated feature rich monsters, that 95% of people use about 5% of.

            Sure, if you don't have any kind of Office software you might try OOo before forking for Office, but if you already own a copy of Office, the time taken to learn new menus and workflow isn't worth switching. Likewise if you are just gonna pirate Office then it's easier to get what you'll be using at work or school than learn something new.

            Corporate environments ditto, retraining office drones to accept that a function is in a different spot, rolling out new software etc, isn't worth the time cost of switching from the Office 2000 install that was paid for once and has served well for 5 years. Likewise if you have MS licensing, it's probably all bundled with your OS licensing anyway. This may be different when the next version of Office comes out though, for orgs that will be upgrading at that point the tabbed menu structure in the new Office will mean drone retraining anyway.

            I'm not pro MS by any stretch, but I have to work with it. These are arguments compiled from my attempts to live on OpenOffice alone, and from family and friends who I have tried to convince to switch. FF gave easily understood advantages, in security, functionality, but the motive to change Office suite just isn't as compelling
            • Re:Is it (Score:4, Insightful)

              by richlv ( 778496 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @08:05AM (#15611825)
              * Performance metrics V MS Office (Even more so in the PPC Mac version!)

              i suppose you mean startup time. yeah, is quite slow on startup, though extremly large times are caused by missing and enabled java.

              * Comparison of Clipart and Wordart features (My kids won't use OOo cos it has none)

              i have to ask - wtf ?
              if you mean clipart collection that is shipping with, that is different than 'features', isn't it ?
              anyway, there's [] and several other collections (there even was one specific package to, but i can't find it right now).

              wordart - double wtf.
              first, for a long time has had a tool named fontwork. it is very powerful, it allows you to shape text along any line etc.
              starting with 2.0, there is 'fontwork gallery', which is simpler & more like ms wordart. these things are described in help, you could also have used mailing lists or forums.

              * Cost/Benefit in switching from a version of Office that people/companies already own

              why not ? that is one og things that should be emphasised, i think.
              there are a lot of factors that must be taken into account - future upgrades, file accessibility, integration possibilities. i'm sure you can find a lot of information about these things on your own.
              there will be cases when it is better to keep existing msoffice installations - but you will have to upgrade at some point, and, as others have mentioned, upgrading to next version of mso probably will be harder than to anyway.

              Sure, if you don't have any kind of Office software you might try OOo before forking for Office, but if you already own a copy of Office, the time taken to learn new menus and workflow isn't worth switching.

              really, it is not THAT different. you get a logical page->format instead of file->page setup (or whatever that was). if a person can adapt to a different car, this really is no big change. if somebody is unble to retrain, maybe employing such a person should be considerated. i really enjoy the examples where a company is moving to, but is offering employees a choice - either they get a small wage increase or stay with msoffice. suddenly nobody has retraining or productivity issues.

              Likewise if you are just gonna pirate Office then it's easier to get what you'll be using at work or school than learn something new.

              sure, pirating distorts marketplace - and ms knows & encourages that to a certain amount :)
              it's mostly businesses that are starting to evaluate available options based on the price.
      • I agree and I'm American. the "They'd download it" thing just makes me feel like they're trying to insult my intelligence. So what if they download it? I might care if they software developers, and if you could actually know they'd download it.
      • Re:Is it (Score:3, Funny)

        by mwvdlee ( 775178 )
        It's not ugly, it's just missing a primary colored wobbly header, cute bears aligned to the borders and lots of pink filler.
    • Re:Is it (Score:5, Interesting)

      by admactanium ( 670209 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:41PM (#15610057) Homepage
      hate to say it but this is a pretty bad ad. every aspect of it is really lacking and is definitely not worth the money in its current state. creating an ad to run in the wsj isn't something that should be taken lightly. i've done it a number of times (with other people's money of course) and on such a big stage you'd really want to polish any communications to highest degree, especially for an ad effort that will draw press to itself. this ad will probably do more to hurt the cause than help it. it's so unprofessional-looking the average user will be forced to wonder if they couldn't lay out a better page in microsoft word.
      • Re:Is it (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:22PM (#15610474)

        Not only that, but the claims in the ad are dubious and subjective at best, if not outright untrue. For a start, I'd be expecting a call from Microsoft's legal team, followed by several others, over the claim to be the "world's best" at all those things.

        If they run that ad, then unfortunately I think it will have only one overwhelming effect: it will convince serious businesspeople everywhere that open source software is from amateurish wannabe land, and shouldn't be touched with a bargepole.

    • Re:Is it (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kremvax ( 307366 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @10:33PM (#15610279) Homepage
      No, not if it's Metro.

      That's the free throwaway 10 pager they pass out by the subways. The articles are sub-par, even for a free fishwrap. This won't have an impact on a literate, decision making crowd.

      If they want to foster adoption, take out a quarter pager in the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. People who have the clout to have their companies adopt a new and better office platform read those.

      • Re:Is it (Score:3, Insightful)

        by goof21 ( 872039 )

        No, not if it's Metro.

        That's the free throwaway 10 pager they pass out by the subways. The articles are sub-par, even for a free fishwrap. This won't have an impact on a literate, decision making crowd.

        I can't speak for New York, but just about everyone on the tubes in London has a copy of the "free throwaway 10 pager" during their morning commute. I wouldn't just dismiss the potential.

        If they want to foster adoption, take out a quarter pager in the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. People w

    • Re:Is it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NitsujTPU ( 19263 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @10:53PM (#15610354)
      No. OO.O doesn't have a lot of the things that FireFox had in place when they did this.

      People forget a lot about FireFox. For one, everyone, 10 years ago, was using Netscape... which begat Mozilla... which begat FireFox.

      People are comparing this to FireFox, because FireFox has a lot of support. People view FireFox as an open source victory. There's a lot different about FireFox though. For one, it was competing against IE, which wasn't as feature-rich and didn't work as well (sorry MS). Compare to MS Office, which OO.O actually has a tough time competing against (Yes, let the flamewar begin. There's nothing like 1000 posts saying, "but I don't use those features!").

      Anyway, by the time FireFox was dumping out newspaper ads, IT pros were already recommending their users install it rather than IE, and people were listening. I don't think that that is remotely true of OO.O.

      Also, the ad isn't going to resonate with anybody. 99.95% of the population doesn't believe that all software needs to be free, and certainly even less understand what that means, since most people who discuss the matter and clamor to the call don't actually understand what it means.

      The ad just isn't going to work on the general public, and it's too soon, there isn't the grassroots support for it. They should wait a year or two until they have their own head of steam, and don't have to ride FireFox's coattails.
    • Re:Is it (Score:3, Insightful)

      Is it really worth the money?

      Is Open Source worth the investment in thousands of hours of programming?

      It's the same question, but different currency.
    • Re:Is it (Score:3, Insightful)

      by oliderid ( 710055 )
      The message is totally irrelevant. The message is aimed at "open source" geeks. Most of them (if not all) have already tried (and somes use open office).

      Lambda citizens don't care at all about the "Microsoft Evil empire". They don't even consider it
      as evil. They don't think their freedom is threatenned by it. A large fraction in the corporate world even admires Microsoft for its achievment. It is a well managed US company, its market share is the best evidence. Trying to place founding fathers/presidents (
    • Re:Is it (Score:4, Interesting)

      by KronicD ( 568558 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @07:53AM (#15611794) Homepage
      Personally I feel that it would be better if they spent their money on a series of smaller ads run in a variety of newspapers (hopefully better than Metro). I'm all for publicity of OSS, but this seems sub-optimal.
  • Or do the presidents on Mt. Rushmore look especially uneasy?
  • Well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by warrior_s ( 881715 ) <> on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:30PM (#15610004) Homepage Journal
    I dont have anything against openoffice.. but comparing openoffice with Microsoft-office.. it still has looong way to go (you are free to disagree).. where as firefox beats Internet-Explorer quite easily.
    • Re:Well (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AhtirTano ( 638534 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:17PM (#15610451)

      I dont have anything against openoffice.. but comparing openoffice with Microsoft-office.. it still has looong way to go (you are free to disagree).. where as firefox beats Internet-Explorer quite easily.

      Indeed. I convinced my project to use OpenOffice. I did this purely to satisfy my anti-Microsoft ideology. I convinced the others via cost and demonstrating how well it handled Office files. Two months later, 2/3 of the people were complaining about how bad it was, and the rest were admitting that it wasn't so good. 1/3 of the people had installed Office, knowing that the rest of us would still be able to handle their files. The rest of us continue to use openoffice because of ideology, apathy, or laziness.

      Basically, only the spreadsheet has worked to our satisfaction. Text documents are passable, but unpleasant. Presentations are completely inadequate. The migration to Office was mainly triggered by the need for PowerPoint.

      I still tell people about OpenOffice, and that we (mostly) use it for our project. But I only recommend it to people who have to do simple things, like short reports or billable hours.

      On the other hand, all of us independently decided to use Firefox. And nobody except me realized that there were all those extensions and themes---they chose it because it just worked better "out of the box".

      • Re:Well (Score:4, Insightful)

        by dodobh ( 65811 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @02:41AM (#15611058) Homepage
        Well, you folks could simply have started requiring ODF for internal communications (or SXW for older OOo versions), and then let the MS Office users complain about incompatibility.

        As long as you try to stay compatible with MS Office, you _will_ get screwed. The easiest way to get around that would have been to say "We don't care, we are going to use ODF, and MS Office users can become compatible with us." Then let _them_ worry about compatibility issues.
        • Re:Well (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ( 782137 )
          You do realise this is akin to saying "Fuck you, we're writing everything in Urdu, and you English speakers can put up and shut up", don't you? And that it makes much less sense?

          To reiterate: For businesses, who want to reach everyone and need to to survive, shock switching away from MS using customers (e.g "Code to standards, fuck IE" "use ODF, fuck Office") does not work.
    • Not really... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by IANAAC ( 692242 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:35PM (#15610512)
      If they were to include some screenshots of Writer, Calc, etc.,and mention compatibility with Office just as every other distribution that includes it does instead of that cheesy yellow crap, they might actually attract attention.

      Well, that and actually run the ad in a subscriber-based newsparer, such as the Times, instead of a free rag.

      Seriously, that ad is going to attract noone.

  • Design (Score:3, Insightful)

    by djwhornplayer ( 874984 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:30PM (#15610006)
    Is it just me, or does anyone else think that the sample ad looks horrible?
    • Re:Design (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ant P. ( 974313 )
      Not just you. That thing needs a lot of work. A _lot_.
    • Re:Design (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cervo ( 626632 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @10:01PM (#15610148) Journal
      The worst thing about the ad is that it does not tell me anything about Open Office except that it is free, runs on windows/mac, and is an office suite. Firefox's Ad mentioned that it was faster/more stable than Internet explorer and it never made unsubstantiated claims of being the "best". Firefox just claimed to be an alternative which is why it worked so well. Furthermore, getting user experiences in the ad was also a good idea to appeal the reader on a personal level. The open office ad is kind of in your face, I am free, I am superior, download me. Personally the ad comes off as very arrogant; if I did not know what open office was I probably would not even bother giving it a try.

      What is probably the worst thing of all is that Open Office is both slower and less stable than Microsoft Office. Really I'm not quite sure why anyone would switch other than price. If they advertise themselves now when the product is less than ready for full time, they risk leaving the public in general with the impression that Open Office is inferior to Microsoft Office and always will be. Whereas if they waited until the product was superior to office they would have a better chance at making/keeping converts.
      • Re:Design (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ClickOnThis ( 137803 )
        The worst thing about the ad is that it does not tell me anything about Open Office except that it is free, runs on windows/mac, and is an office suite. [...] The open office ad is kind of in your face, I am free, I am superior, download me. Personally the ad comes off as very arrogant; if I did not know what open office was I probably would not even bother giving it a try.

        Hear hear! Well posted.

        If I may, I'd like to embellish your comments by noting that the ad does absolutely nothing to build brand recog
    • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @10:13PM (#15610202)
      Is it just me, or does anyone else think that the sample ad looks horrible?

      Just basic stuff, like the absurd hyphenation of "all-in-one" in that context... it screams "high school marketing project," and conveys the sense that the technology effort might not be any more fully executed.

      Combine that with the low-brow attempt to appeal to some reflexively counter-culture audience, and the tone is just plain wrong. The project doesn't need more hipster nerds using the software, it needs more corporate IT people to like it. And those folks are not going to talk their bosses and users into using it on the grounds that doing so makes a political statement or somehow "gets even" with profit-oriented companies. Come on! It's profitable companies you want to attract, and conveying that whole "business is teh evil" atmosphere will do more to alienate prospective users than pretty much anything else.

      And, of course, never mind that Excel can still kick its ass, which makes the "world's best" claim just transparently false... and isn't that sort of hucksterism the very thing that the F/OSS most hate about software from The Man?

      Better to have a contest with marketing/design students - they've got a vested interest in building up their portfolios and can really use "won contest" on their resume. And, they may actually have a clue about how punctuation, capitalization, clauses, verbs, and those other little details play a role in communication.
    • Re:Design (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Quarters ( 18322 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @10:17PM (#15610223)
      You're not alone. The layout is simplistic, the font choices are basic, the colors are attrocious and thhe picture has nothing to do the product. The ad copy is fully hippy-esque "stick it to the man" angst to the detriment of any meaningful copy that actually describes the product and its strengths.

      Based only on that ad I'd assume that OpenOffice some bush-league office suite that I'd find in the schlocky productivity aisle in the software section of BestBuy or Wal*Mart, alongside the "AdSubtract" and "InternetWasher" crap.

    • Re:Design (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Khaed ( 544779 )
      No, it's certainly not just you.

      Rant/ramble ahead.

      First of all the yellow is pretty gaudy, and if anything the yellow and white should be reversed, so that the URL box below the picture has a background that is highlighted, not the way it is now. The black/white reverse for the top URL would look better then.

      The whole Independence/Rushmore thing is a little insulting. I've used OO.o for a long time, and wrote most of my school papers in it up until I started using AbiWord. I still use OO.o occasionally, but
    • Re:Design (Score:4, Funny)

      by G-funk ( 22712 ) <> on Monday June 26, 2006 @10:32PM (#15610272) Homepage Journal
      Oh lord. I nobody's really going to spend $10,000 putting that garbage in a major newspaper are they? You couldn't sell free money with that ad! It looks like something spit up by a 15 year old "web designer" that does the first incarnation of most small business' websites beccause "my nephew's a computer wiz".
  • "They'd download it...". It would help if you would at least get the grammer right in the ad. The design is very ugly.
  • Ugh. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Stormwatch ( 703920 ) <{moc.liamtoh} {ta} {oarigogirdor}> on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:32PM (#15610016) Homepage
    Now that's a fugly ad. Compare it to the famous Firefox NYT ad [] - that one was beautifully well-designed, but the mockup for OpenOffice's ad looks like something that any amateur would put together in 15 minutes using MS-Paint and a pic ripped from a school book. Also, it is too in-your-face ideological, it barely mentions the app's qualities!
    • I think rather than donate money; the first step is to get somebody who could design their way out of a paper bag. That "mock-up" is utterly hideous. There is no way I would download software based on such a poorly designed amature advert.
    • Absolutely agree on all your points. Too often open software proponents are all about the 'ideological stance' that the software is taking, and how it's better for bunnies or something.

      People DON'T CARE! They really couldn't give a flying hoohah about how wonderful Open Source software is, and how it'll save the world. They just want to know that hey! Look, I don't have to pay top dollar just to write a letter or do a spreadsheet... hey, look, it's FREE! Wow, I'd better check this out.

      But, put together a TE
  • by a.koepke ( 688359 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:33PM (#15610021)
    Please, someone help them and design a proper advert.

    That looks like something put together in MS Paint. It really is a crap advert and does nothing for

    If you are going to spend a lot of money putting an advert in a paper at least make it worth your while and get a decent advert designed.
  • - doesn't mention that can (usually) read/write .doc, .xls, .ppt documents
    - doesn't mention that it can run Linux and other O/S (I know Windows and Mac users are the target audience here, but the wide platform availability is one reason why I switched personally...)
    - "Free Software for Free People" => doesn't quite work. It is not explicitly said that can be downloaded and installed for zero financial cost, but instead alludes that is "free" in the same sense that people are "free". A person can not cost anything (unless you are a slave), so... the ad draft doesn't communicate the important point of "free to download, free to install, free to use"
    - don't even get me started on the bright yellow background. I know its a rough draft, but at least make it a *good* rough draft! If I saw something that cheezy/annoying/distracting/unprofessional in my newspaper, I would turn to the next page before I finished reading the title

    Good intentions are there, but I need more faith in an ad that works if I'm going to shell out cash for this cause. I don't want to waste my donation money on an ad that doesn't advertise very well :/
    • - Too techy... just say "Microsoft Office Replacement" or something. I agree in principle though.

      - I would expect 99% of Linux users are already well aware of OO, and including the word "Linux" might scare a few people off.

      - "Free Software for Free People" both addresses the free-as-in-speech thing we all love mentioning, and lets the user know that the software is free-as-in-beer. I really don't think that part is ambiguous or confusing.

      - Agreed. Someone here must have some l33t photoshop ski11z... anyone?

      • - I would expect 99% of Linux users are already well aware of OO, and including the word "Linux" might scare a few people off.

        You miss the point. Of course Linux users know about OOo, the point is to tell people that it runs on all sorts of platforms. This incrases the value of the package as a software platform. I hardly think Linux would scare anybody away. Especially not in combination with Solaris, Windows, MacOS-X, FreeBSD.

        BTW, Why are there no seagulls, and why is it yellow instead of blue and white.
    • doesn't mention that it can run Linux

      Maybe in Soviet Russia it can.
  • Ugh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zadaz ( 950521 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:36PM (#15610039)
    If that's the ad mock up, I'll pass. It looks like something I'd see taped to a phone pole above a undecipherable Xerox of someone's lost cat.

    I like OO and all (Especially when my $2500 computer came with a trial version of Office.......) but could they find one capable designer to donate 30 minutes of their time somewhere--anywhere in the project?

    I might support a real ad in a real publication, but paying good money to distribute this visual hernia in the back of a disposable rag isn't going to bring credibility to anyone.
    • worse than that, i think this advert may do damage. there is serious potential to make OO look like a nerds product, with no real substance, and no serious development or thought behind it. this is not the case in reality.
  • Old Chinese wisdom (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ezratrumpet ( 937206 )
    Be careful what you wish for.

    The comparison of Open Office to Firefox is apples/oranges. Firefox is at least as accessible to the end user as IE, and is a better choice for many users. Open Office might not be as favorably compared to MS Office as Firefox is compared to IE.

    Despite its flaws, code blot, and so forth - when I reach for my own money, I choose Open Office every time. I imagine that many NY Times readers will reach the same conclusion. Will NY Times do for Open Office what they did for Fire
  • Ach, mein eyes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mnemonic_ ( 164550 ) <> on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:39PM (#15610051) Homepage Journal
    That ad looks like total shit. Seriously, it makes the project look like a joke. It's insultingly unprofessional design work.
  • misleading ads (Score:3, Interesting)

    by icepick72 ( 834363 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:40PM (#15610052)
    The ads will says "World's best word process ..." and lists off all the products. These are tactics I expect from Microsoft, not the Open Source world. I know the name of the game is to get the most attention and the most people trying your product (especially at a $10k price tag to advertise) ... that I respect, but OO.Org is definitely not the best software package for those jobs. Don't get me wrong -- it's really good, it's growing, and I use it and love it. The tactics suck, plain and simple. This advertising is no better than we see from any other large corporation. There's obviously enough creativity in the open source community to be able to hit these ads from a multitude of other angles that are more truthful. I think it's unfortuneate and I hope the strategy is altered before these ads go to market, especially because MS Office power users (note: not necessarily day-to-day users) are going to be disappointed and word-of-mouth can be equally detrimental as it is good.
  • by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:44PM (#15610064)
    It isn't good enough on it's own merits... ok that's bollocks, but word of mouth is far more valuable and cheaper than taking out adverts in a newspaper. Hell it's something that all the ad agencies are trying to fake just now anyway.

  • The Ad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by inexia ( 977449 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:44PM (#15610068)
    The advertisement professes very little of the capabilities of which it can perform, moreso, the fact it provides indpendence from the Office Suites people pay money for usage. The fact the programs in Open Office are quite expansive and offer a very well integrated ability to best the products people "pay" to make their lives easier. I don't feel that the Mt. Rushmore with the ubiquitous yellow "...for idiots" color is beneficial in the developement of which they created. The programs are, and many would argue, easily to use for the purpose they provide. I helped a friend to use it and they were very grateful at the purpose the tools were developed. I like how you are able to take a break and load the spreadsheet; type in "=GAME("StarWars") and take a minute to smile at the few moments of gameplay before toiling again. I think the developers are worthy of Advertising what they have accomplished but wish they did it in a better way than something archaic...IMHO
  • 1) it's ugly, I mean UGLY
    2) it's wrong!
    It's definitely NOT the best spreadsheet, it's ages begind excel or even gnumeric
  • by Freaky Spook ( 811861 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:48PM (#15610090)
    The advertisement doesn't really say exactly what it does, why it is good or why it is worth downloading.

    For years security experts and geeks have been telling users to "be very careful with free software" to avoid malware and other nasty junk, and this ad quite frankly looks like some of the armature SPAM I have received in my inbox, if I saw an ad for this it doesn't make me want to download it or trust where it is coming from.

    For 10K I would take a different approach, the best advertising is word of mouth so I would do something like Mac did in the early 90's, fund schools with software/hardware and a learning program for the software, if it impresses schools then more schools will happily adopt it, plus each kid could be given a free copy to take home to practice on.

    10K could do one classroom in one school, but the word of mouth and the publicity from a company trying to help education would be priceless.
  • Who reads Metro? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by apflwr3 ( 974301 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:51PM (#15610104)
    Seriously, Metro is not a paper of note. It might be picked up for a quick read on the subway or for lunch by some NY office workers but it's certainly not the caliber of other free papers like the Voice, NYPress or even the Onion. I can't imagine it will get Open Office much return for their investment.

    Wouldn't that $10,000 be better spent on banner ads on high traffic site or Google adwords? Then they'd reach a worldwide audience, and the reader would be literally seconds away from downloading the suite for themselves.
  • by Cattywampus ( 19657 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:52PM (#15610106) is really jumping the gun here, and I think it's gonna backfire pretty hard.

    I do use OpenOffice on a daily basis, and I love it. However, it's still dog-slow and clunky in some parts, unfinished or unpolished in others, and buggy here and there. You have to get to know its individual quirks. I tried getting my Microsoft Office-loyal boss to use it for a while, and he gave it up pretty fast. He found a number of things that he was used to doing in Excel that he couldn't do in OOo.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing the project or the efforts of its contributors, nor can I stand up and say that I've contributed code or money to it. What I am saying is, they haven't reached the level of completeness that Firefox had reached before the Firefox ad came out. Couple that with a typically glacial development and release process, and you'll get hordes of new users checking it out ... and being annoyed by it.

    And, yeah, ditto the "holy cow, that's an ugly ad" comments, too. It looks very amateurish to me.
  • Marketing 101 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pipingguy ( 566974 ) * on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:52PM (#15610111)
    Lose the freedom/hippie theme and appeal to wallets. How much does MS office cost these days?
  • by zamyatin ( 768442 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:54PM (#15610119) Homepage
    Don't worry, version 2 of this ad will be created by professional designers! Nothing gets a designer to come out and help like putting something out there for them to criticize.

    Much better would be for this discussion to focus on the real issue of the fundraising effort. Thinking about the target market, the choice of NYC as the location, questions about the number of daily readers of this paper (450,000, in fact), thoughts around the Tipping Point concept of Malcolm Gladwell, reaching a new crowd of non-geeks and home/small business users, etc. These are the valuable points we should be talking about! Not the draft, mockup ad that will soon be superceded.
  • I'm supportive of the idea of running an ad to raise the profile of OpenOffice, but this ad is horrid. People in the FOSS community might link this to freedom, but the normal, typical end user couldn't care less about that. ALL he's interested in is whether this free product is good enough to take the place of something that he's paying for now (or that he might see as "free" since it came with his computer). Whoever designed this ad created something to appeal to the open-source advocates who care dearly a
  • "Free" is bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Comatose51 ( 687974 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:58PM (#15610139) Homepage
    Don't say "free" software. People associate "free" as in free beer with cheap. Remember the saying, "There's no free lunch"? Especially in a field filled with adwares, "free" can set off alarms. Why would these guys offer free software? There's must be a catch. That's what the viewers will think. Use open or some other word that makes people think "free as in freedom".
  • It reminds me of a phone book. Not really something you want for an eye-catching ad.
  • I'm sorry, but for the average user (and even myself) OpenOffice is not ready for prime-time. Please don't ruin the name of OpenOffice in the eyes of Mac users by making their first experience with it such a poor one (on other platforms I think it's a great Office alternative). Wait for OO to become a native OS X app and then appeal to Mac users.

    And as others have said, the design is awful.
  • by VValdo ( 10446 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @10:11PM (#15610189)
    With the majority (by far) of comments remarking on the utter badness of the ad, both aesthetically and in terms of its content, I should point out the following note [] when this was submitted:

    This is just a draft, and we are in search of your feedback and suggestions!

    I can only assume the ad will be replaced with something a lot, LOT better. Maybe it would be a good idea to get that part straight before soliciting for cash?

    I'd like to see:

    * What OOo is.
    * Why you would use it.
    * Compatibility with MS Office
    * Compatibility with WordPerfect (?)
    * Save-to-PDF and other standout features
    * Who brought you this ad, and why they did it.
    * NeoOffice as an interoperable alternative for OS X.

    Whoa. That was triangular.

    All the above could be done in a really clever way. A cool graphic. A slogan. Something that grabs your attention and then makes you read more. A contest or something might help to facilitate the best idea(s) floating to the top.

    • I've been trying to figure out a place to tell someone about my favorite OpenOffice feature, and I guess you just nominated your post by mentioning PDF. I can copy/paste a web-page or selection into OpenOffice, and all the HTML links will be preserved. When I export to PDF, all the links are still preserved in the PDF! I've been using PDFcreator and printing to PDF for a couple of years, but that method loses all the links. But there's more...

      Also, if I've structured an OpenOffice document by using s

  • Paper? (Score:2, Funny)

    by fatius ( 245729 )
    Man, that ad is bad. But at the same time, I've lived in new york for a long time now and I still don't know anyone who's actually looked at that paper. So we're not in danger of anyone actually seeing it.
  • Hi, I did an interview with Ben Horst for Mad Penguin. You can read the interview here, if you would like more info about Ben's effort to start this grassroots OOo ad campaign:

    http://http// [http]
  • by monkeybrainsoup ( 584442 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @10:36PM (#15610291)
    Maybe they should spend their money on making their website,download, and install process a little more streamlined. I've told tens of people that were in need of Word, Excel, or PowerPoint to just go get OpenOffice. ~80% came back to me needing help downloading and installing the software. Yes, these people are definitley not the best at figuring it out, or trying different things, or even reading instructions on a website, but if provided an interface on their site to download as easily accessible as the one on, they would immediatley have a larger user base.

    1) Don't make users choose a mirror. Users don't have any clue what that means. Figure it out yourselves, but leave the option open for "advanced" users. The torrent is a nice touch though for the "advanced" options.
    2) Provide direct links for the most likely platforms. Sadly this means Windows. On the front page. In huge fonts. (Just do it)
  • Wow (Score:3, Informative)

    by imemyself ( 757318 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @10:41PM (#15610312)
    The design for that looks fuglier than StarOffice 5 did. I mean, that had to really take some hard work to make something look that horrible. And the content isn't any better. "They'd download it." WTF were they thinking? If they actually put this ad in a paper, the best thing they can hope for is that people don't remember it. This could only have a negative impact on OOo's adoption among non-tech people.
  • by geekwithsoul ( 860466 ) <geekwithsoul AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:17PM (#15610452)
    In the not too distant past . . . OpenOffice people realize that people are actually expecting them to run some sort of ad using their donations


    and they smash this traffic accident of a design together in the hopes that everyone is so horrified that someone with some brains and aesthetic sense gives them something better to use

    . . . seriously, this ad is the perfect example of what is wrong with OpenOffice in comparison to Firefox:

    1. OpenOffice is not as good as the commercial software it's trying to compete with, and so it is sort of hard to come up with a marketing-type message.

    2. The software itself, while functional, lacks any sort of cohesive vision or raison d'etre beyond "hey, what do you want? It's free"

    3. It looks like crap. I know this is hard for many of you programmers out there to hear, but if your application *looks* like crap, people are going to think it *is* crap, no matter how good it actually is.

    4. Whereas Firefox took their message to the New York Times and built-up a lot of well justified hype, the OpenOffice folks came up with something that looks like a cross between a church picnic flyer and a political manifesto that maybe a dozen clueful people will read and understand.
  • by tqbf ( 59350 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:47PM (#15610549) Homepage

    Why is "Benjamin Horst"'s name in the ad?

    Since when do ads have "producer credits"?

    Is this an ad for OpenOffice or a chance for some guy to get his name in the paper?

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:52AM (#15610791) Homepage

    This ad is so awful that it looks like an attempt to sabotage OpenOffice. The design is terrible, the message is confusing, and it will look even worse on newsprint. Did Microsoft have something to do with this? Anybody competent could do better. The first line ought to read something like this.

    Free office software. No purchase necessary. No fees. No subscriptions. Nothing to pay, ever. No ads. No spyware. No limits on use. No limits on copying. No charge for upgrades. No kidding.

    How is this possible? OpenOffice is free software, developed by hundreds of users and companies worldwide. ...

  • My own mockup ads (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Stormwatch ( 703920 ) <{moc.liamtoh} {ta} {oarigogirdor}> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @03:08AM (#15611117) Homepage
    My own mockup ads [], see if you like them.
    • Re:My own mockup ads (Score:3, Interesting)

      by glsunder ( 241984 )
      They look nice design-wise, but they're too wordy. Most people would never bother reading it. I don't do advertising, but I'd say you have 1/2 a second to catch people's eye, and assuming you do, the ad needs to convey its meaning in 5 - 10 seconds. There's a lot of noise out there for people to filter out, and an ad with a lot of words is just more noise.

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle