No-name survey website rates Xbox One ‘Product of the Year’ for 2014
In a bizarre string of events, it seems that Microsoft is doing its best to get its Xbox One to catch the PlayStation 4 in sales. In what Microsoft declines as “desperation”, it has price cut its newest console in the U.K. to help bolster sales. It also added a bundle featuring the upcoming hyped exclusive game Titanfall. This bundle is coming to the U.S. as well, but no price cut has been announced as of yet. While many Xbox One’s can be found on retail shelves, the competition has proven much more difficult to keep up with. Could the reason be the original price difference, or the lack of a bundled game?
New information comes from a site called Ad-Week, a site that has been giving out awards to the most innovative products on the market for six years now. So, Microsoft’s Xbox One winning ‘Product of the Year 2014’ doesn’t seem so outlandish, right? Well, when you break down the recently announced price cut, the award and its source, it is going to raise some eyebrows. Let us begin with the fact that it is only February in 2014. Consumer Reports and other awards do not announce their winners until later in the year. For a product that has only been out three months, and the lacking sales numbers, this seems weird. Especially since the panel of judges involves 40,000 Americans during a survey. The submission process does have to pass a test for innovation from select judges, but once they have picked their nominees, it’s up to the people from there.
The other strange part of this award comes from the source. If you visit the link above to Ad-Week and see the other winners, the items come from grocery stores. Maybe there are other electronic devices that have won awards? No. Besides a home appliance, you will see award categories that include candy, soap, and eggs. With these categories, it hardly seems like the site is credible in giving an award for such a category, not to mention the timing of the award. Even though the people have the option of what to choose on the survey, we don’t know what the other options were, if there even were any other options, or the demographic it was aimed at. There might have been only one option to a demographics of senior citizens. Also, having to process 40,000 votes in such a short time seems impossible, especially when a panel of judges have to submit their decision on nominees.
To add some credibility to the award, Ad-Week’s winners are available for viewing in Parade Magazine. On top of that, all the winners will appear on the cover for all to see. Ad-Week states that these items generally see a 10-15% sales increase due to the recognition. While the site notes that increase doesn’t necessarily affect the bigger name brands, it still ends up being free advertising. More notably, it ends up being free advertising to a different demographic that might be unfamiliar to the market.
Yes, we know, a nice bonfire could be had with all of the awards and trophies out there. But getting named one of the POY is actually a very big deal for a brand—not only for the boasting rights, but for the marketing. The winners will appear on the cover of Parade magazine, and the halo effect of a POY translates to an average sales bump of 10-15 percent. While many of the winners are already category leaders that probably don’t need help with sales, smaller brands that made this year’s list—including Aldi SimplyNature Squeezable Fruit snacks and Le Savonnier Marseillais liquid soap—are sure to be happy for the exposure.
Microsoft might not be in “desperation mode”, but this entire situation seems odd. Not many gamers read Parade Magazine, and most will notice that any type of yearly award is clearly not conducted this early. The sales of the next generation consoles is being led by Sony with the PlayStation 4. Not only is Microsoft trailing in sales, but they based their sales on units shipped. The problem is, most of the units sit collecting dust in retail stores. The announcement of the Titanfall bundle will hopefully push sales for the Xbox One.