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Microsoft unveils yet another ad -- for Internet Explorer 8

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Advertising spending may have fallen 12% in the first quarter, but Microsoft doesn’t seem to know there’s a slowdown. Soon after it unveiled a massive campaign for its new search engine, Bing, which features people yelling about back pain and the composer Johann Sebastian Bach, it’s unveiling a new ad -- for Internet Explorer 8.

This commercial, produced by Indiana ad agency Bradley and Montgomery, stars actor and onetime Superman Dean Cain as a confused intellectual in a public service announcement trying to help overweight women share pictures of lolcats.

They’re not only showing us ads to persuade us to download IE 8. Microsoft also says that if people download the browser through BrowserForTheBetter.com, the company will donate eight meals to Feeding America.

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So what’s so great about this new browser that’s motivating Microsoft to pay for yet another TV ad in a time when advertising isn’t so popular?

It gives us a new feature called Accelerators, which allow you to, say, check out a map of a location without opening a new window. It allows us to comparison shop using a search bar and restore recently closed tabs. It crashes less frequently (we’ll have to see about that one).

The new features in IE 8 “accelerate the task at hand with fewer clicks and less frustration, blurring the lines between services and browser,” Microsoft says in a white paper you can download on its IE site.

Now why didn’t they say that in the ad?

-- Alana Semuels


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