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Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better! Newspaper Ad Mockup Released

ScuttleMonkey posted about 8 years ago | from the spread-the-word dept.


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 (5, Interesting)

gerbalblaste (882682) | about 8 years ago | (#15609978)

Is it really worth the money?

Re:Is it (5, Interesting)

c_fel (927677) | about 8 years ago | (#15609992)

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 (5, Insightful)

mboverload (657893) | about 8 years ago | (#15610069)

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 (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15610112)

Slower than Office? How is that possible? []

Re:Is it (5, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 years ago | (#15610260)

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 (5, Informative)

Sen.NullProcPntr (855073) | about 8 years ago | (#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 (0)

0racle (667029) | about 8 years ago | (#15610157)

maybe it's because I'm canadian

Absolutely, ad campaigns should say nothing at all that the target audience understands, it might offend someone from another part of the world.

Re:Is it (1)

3mpire (953036) | about 8 years ago | (#15610214)

USD? ;)

Re:Is it (1)

sTalking_Goat (670565) | about 8 years ago | (#15610238)

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 (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15609998)

Looks like a scam to me. Who the fuck is bhorst and why does the ad look like made by a complete communist-hippie dork?

Why has this shit made the frontpage?

Re:Is it (5, Interesting)

admactanium (670209) | about 8 years ago | (#15610057)

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 (1)

christian.einfeldt (874074) | about 8 years ago | (#15610158)

IMHO, we won't know if it is "worth it" until we try. The strength of open source software is trying, and learning. Ben has done a pretty good job of bootstrapping this ad campaign. Firefox did a really good ad campaign, but for a wide variety of reasons, the OOo community has not yet managed to pull together a similar ad campaign. Maybe because there were doubts as to its effectiveness.

At any rate, I find it extremely tempting to try to make this effort fly, which is why I have been supporting the effort with a wee bit of publicity.

The only way (1, Interesting)

fimbulvetr (598306) | about 8 years ago | (#15609995)

The only way I would consider donating to the project is if they'd remove Java from the the default setup. It's like those annoying M$ office features that you need to go shut off after a fresh install. I realize it's just a checkbox, but you'd think the free, open source software org. would expend a little more effort to rid their software of slow, proprietary bloatware. I, among numerous other people, have asked for them to remove java, but they will not.

Other than that, the software is worth a download if abiword doesn't float your boat. Until they actively work on the slowness and non-free portions of their code, I'll stick with abiword and gnumeric.

Re:The only way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15610173)

While Java is a bit of an overkill as a necessary install requirement, it is required if you are going to produce xml documents. As general office software I have found quite good. It still needs some polishing but I am not going to shell out hundreds of dollars to purchace M$ Office

Do it... (0)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 8 years ago | (#15610000)

It's so rare to feel like I can help the world in such a simple, clear, affordable way.

I just pledged $10. It felt good. Please consider doing it too.

Re:Do it... (0)

Ireneo Funes (886273) | about 8 years ago | (#15610166)

I'm sure the world is extremely thankful!
Please tell us that you were joking.

Re:Do it... (1)

christian.einfeldt (874074) | about 8 years ago | (#15610175)

hi DoofusOfDeath, Thanks for contributing. I'm not "officially" part of the team, but I have helped out with a wee bit of publicity, and so I appreciate the help. I have known Ben Horst, the guy who started this project, for some time, and he really is a great person to know. He's just a very enthusiastic person who likes to see things happen, and is willing to put in work to make it happen. I'm glad to see people supporting his effort.

Re:Do it... (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 8 years ago | (#15610230)

Hi Christian,

You're welcome - the cause is worthy. After reading the other posts, I thought some more about it. While I'm still glad I contributed, the current ad design really is pretty far from the quality of the Firefox campaign's page. If you have Ben's ear, please encourage him to seek and accept help in making the ad's design all it can be before sending it off for publication. We only get one change to make a first impression.

Kind regards,

Re:Do it... (2, Insightful)

christian.einfeldt (874074) | about 8 years ago | (#15610254)

Hi DoD, Ben just emailed me with the link to this /. article, and so I know that he is reading it now.

WRT to quality of the ad, I'm thinking that Ben's idea was probably "release early and often" in the hopes that he would spark a discussion such as we are getting now on /. If people don't like the ad, it would be really helpful if people could 1) make some detailed constructive criticisms, or 2) maybe do a quick mock-up themselves, so that we could improve it.

Thanks again for contributing to the effort, DoD!! Christian Einfeldt

Re:Do it... (5, Funny)

cdomigan (833362) | about 8 years ago | (#15610228)

I just saved $10. It felt good. Please consider making a decent design.

Is it just me... (5, Funny)

jollyroger1210 (933226) | about 8 years ago | (#15610001)

Or do the presidents on Mt. Rushmore look especially uneasy?

Well (5, Insightful)

warrior_s (881715) | about 8 years ago | (#15610004)

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.

Yep 600 bucks worth of long way to go (1)

codepunk (167897) | about 8 years ago | (#15610266)

Yep it has 600 bucks worth of long way to go....right....

Design (3, Insightful)

djwhornplayer (874984) | about 8 years ago | (#15610006)

Is it just me, or does anyone else think that the sample ad looks horrible?

Re:Design (2, Insightful)

Ant P. (974313) | about 8 years ago | (#15610082)

Not just you. That thing needs a lot of work. A _lot_.

Re:Design (4, Insightful)

cervo (626632) | about 8 years ago | (#15610148)

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 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15610176)

No, it isn't just you. It looks terrible, and that terrible image will be associated with the product. This isn't going to help, it is going to hinder. /How ironic that Slashdot's bot prevention image for my post was "homespun".

That's being unfair to things that ARE horrible. (5, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | about 8 years ago | (#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 (1)

christian.einfeldt (874074) | about 8 years ago | (#15610211)

Hi, A lot of people have complained about the layout of this ad. It would help if people would give more detailed feedback. And even better, if anyone reading this has the talents to whip something together quickly and would like to do a quick mockup, all that much better.

Please remember that this is a total grassroots effort. I'm not "officially" part of the project, but I have done a wee bit of publicity for the effort, but I do know that the guy who started this effort is fresh out of college, and doesn't have a big budget. So any substantive help would be appreciated!! As with any open source project, if you don't like it, make it better!!! Don't just complain!

Re:Design (3, Insightful)

Quarters (18322) | about 8 years ago | (#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 (2, Insightful)

Khaed (544779) | about 8 years ago | (#15610237)

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 I don't see it as being nearly as important as the Declaration of Independence -- which is what I get from the ad --

I'd change the tag below the URL to "Great (all the features) in one free package."

Emphasizing the freedom/free software aspect is good. Highlighting compatibility and guaranteed future compatibility would be good. I don't know how to fit "You won't have to use OO.o x.0 just because everyone else does and Sun decided to be snarky and make changes to screw backwards compatibility" into an ad, but I'm sure someone else could.

OO.o has a lot of nice features. Being free is one of them, but interface wise, I just don't know if it's ready to take on Microsoft Office. It's bloated and MS Office is just easier on the eyes. In my experience and opinion.

Of course, in a weird twist, OO.o saves documents in Word/Excel format that are actually smaller than the same exact documents saved in Word/Excel... might be true for other aspects of Office, but I never compared them.

Rant/ramble mode off.

Re:Design (1)

LordNimon (85072) | about 8 years ago | (#15610241)

I agree 100%. It obviously was not designed by a advertising professional.

Re:Design (1)

antic (29198) | about 8 years ago | (#15610250)

Maybe it was put together in Open Office?

It's not just you. The ad is crap and would be money wasted - looks amateur and pushes a shoddy message. People want something that's cheap, works, not bloated, and can open/save common formats - who cares about past leaders?!

Re:Design (3, Funny)

G-funk (22712) | about 8 years ago | (#15610272)

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".

What the fuck? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15610010)

What the fuck is this retarded shit?

They'd download it (1, Funny)

rminsk (831757) | about 8 years ago | (#15610011)

"They'd download it...". It would help if you would at least get the grammer right in the ad. The design is very ugly.

Re:They'd download it (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15610054)

How is the grammer[sic] wrong?

Re:They'd download it (1, Funny)

rminsk (831757) | about 8 years ago | (#15610135)

It is in the present tense when the people in the figures are already dead. It should be "They'd would have downloaded it".

Re:They'd download it (4, Funny)

Petrushka (815171) | about 8 years ago | (#15610163)

It should be "They'd would have downloaded it".

OK, show of hands: who would trust proofreading done by this person?

Re:They'd download it (3, Funny)

Fjornir (516960) | about 8 years ago | (#15610218)

I wouldn't trust his proofreading but I bet he can ask if you'd like fries with that.

Re:They'd download it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15610165)

I don't normally use the abbreviation, but this calls for it.


Re:They'd download it (1)

alx5000 (896642) | about 8 years ago | (#15610167)

Actually, the sentence in the ad is totally correct. It means "They'd download it [if they were still alive | if they have to use an office suite | etc... ]".

"They'd would have downloaded it" is gramatically incoherent and, if you meant "They'd had downloaded it", then it makes no sense since the Internet was no place to download anything (heck, no place at all :P) at the time of these gentlemen's lives.

Re:They'd download it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15610179)

"They'd would have downloaded it" is nonsense, fucktard.

The ad isn't the present tense either, it is subjunctive and it is perfectly correct grammer[sic].

Sorry to burst your bubble, but no one likes grammer[sic] Nazis who don't know what they're talking about.

Someone please mod both of this pigfucker's posts offtopic.

Re:They'd download it (-1, Troll)

cciRRus (889392) | about 8 years ago | (#15610186)

The ad isn't the present tense either, it is subjunctive and it is perfectly correct grammer[sic]. Sorry to burst your bubble, but no one likes grammer[sic]
Nazis who don't know what they're talking about.
I see that you guys are only concerned with grammar and not spelling.

Re:They'd download it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15610207)

my god, either you are the dumbest motherfucker to ever walk the earth or i have been trolled.

Re:They'd download it (1)

Fjornir (516960) | about 8 years ago | (#15610243)

Pssst. Check this [] out.

Ugh. (4, Interesting)

Stormwatch (703920) | about 8 years ago | (#15610016)

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!

Re:Ugh. (1)

onco_p53 (231322) | about 8 years ago | (#15610122)

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.

Re:Ugh. (1)

Ireneo Funes (886273) | about 8 years ago | (#15610209)

Firefox ad may look neat and all but I find it to be flawed in that it doesn't stress out enough that it is FREE.
You see a HUGE ad printed on the backcover of one of the most widely-read newspapers in the world, would you rather think someone's trying to help you or to sell you product X?

That's right. Now you look a bit deeper and find that product X is infact an internet browser, whoa!, are they expecting you to pay for something you get by default with the latest instalment of windoesn't?
I don't think so either.

By the time you'd have noticed it's actually free you're probably 2 pages ahead and not caring.

At least the mockup does nice in the getting-to-the-damn-point department.

Completely agree (1)

spoco2 (322835) | about 8 years ago | (#15610213)

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 TERRIBLE looking ad with ideological crap that says nothing about the product... you've got a whole lotta waste of money.

the ad looks like crap (4, Insightful)

a.koepke (688359) | about 8 years ago | (#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.

The marketing looks like crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15610150)

Hehe. I love the smell of irony in the evening. Slashdot usually has nothing but ill to say about marketing. But here we see the results of poor marketing, AND we have the cabel giving "marketing" advice.

Racist warmongers! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15610024)

You're promoting this international software with the images of racist warmongers, the forefathers of the world's worst terrorist nation?

Re:Racist warmongers! (1)

Billy the Impaler (886238) | about 8 years ago | (#15610059)

Go on then, explain how Abraham Lincoln was a racist. We're all on the edges of our seats, O wise troll.

Re:Racist warmongers! (1, Offtopic)

XanC (644172) | about 8 years ago | (#15610125)

I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery.
I am a little uneasy about the abolishment of slavery in this District of Columbia.
If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it.
I will say, then, that I am not, nor have ever been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races; that I am not nor ever been in favor of making voters of the free Negroes, or jurors, or qualifying them to hold office, or having them to marry with white people. I will say in addition, that there is a physical difference between the white and black races, which, I suppose, will forever forbid the two races living together upon terms of social and political equality, and inasmuch as they cannot so live, that while they do remain together, there must be the position of superior and inferior, that I as much as any other white man am in favor of the superior position being assigned to the white man.

I think the grandparent is simply trolling, but the idea that Lincoln was a great hero of racial equality is complete bunk.

Ad is missing important points... (5, Insightful)

RootsLINUX (854452) | about 8 years ago | (#15610033)

- 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 :/

Re:Ad is missing important points... (1)

JebusIsLord (566856) | about 8 years ago | (#15610177)

- 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?

Re:Ad is missing important points... (2, Interesting)

unoengborg (209251) | about 8 years ago | (#15610274)

- 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. If you do an add you should use your logo and company colors. That way you strenghten your brand. Whenever sombody sees some one else open OOo they should be able recognize the logos in splash screen from the add.

Why not mention that ODF is the new iso standard for Office documents, why not mention that you easy can share documents with other popular office suits

Besides, I think promoting it on MacOS-X is a bit premature. Most Mac users don't have X11 installed. and will not think of it as a real Mac program as things like menus and fonts will look weird to them.

I'd consider donating if the ad was nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15610035)

Showing a picture of Mount Rushmore and saying "They'd download it" is not something that I'd give money to. However, opening word documents without having to pay $600 for a copy of Office is pretty damn sweet, especially when you work for a company that refuses to buy software and asks you to pirate everything.... I support the cause.

Ugh. (4, Insightful)

Zadaz (950521) | about 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Ugh. (1)

norfolkboy (235999) | about 8 years ago | (#15610226)

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 (2, Interesting)

ezratrumpet (937206) | about 8 years ago | (#15610050)

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 Firefox? Only time will tell.

Re:Old Chinese wisdom (1)

0racle (667029) | about 8 years ago | (#15610242)

Since the ad is not going into the NY Times, I doubt many of the NY Times readers will be moved by the ad at all.

Ach, mein eyes (5, Insightful)

mnemonic_ (164550) | about 8 years ago | (#15610051)

That ad looks like total shit. Seriously, it makes the project look like a joke. It's insultingly unprofessional design work.

Re:Ach, mein eyes (1)

slashflood (697891) | about 8 years ago | (#15610074)

Oh, meine Augen.

You're right, it is ugly as hell!

misleading ads (2, Interesting)

icepick72 (834363) | about 8 years ago | (#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.

Dear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15610055)

Please release a version that loads faster than 2 minutes. No, preloading it into memory is not an acceptable solution. I kind of like to use that memory for things other than (I know that's hard for you to understand).

Call me a troll if you like, but this is why I use Abiword, Gnumeric, etc. instead. Until really fixes the slow loading, they're second-class citizens to me.

If you have to advertise something (2, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 8 years ago | (#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 (3, Interesting)

inexia (977449) | about 8 years ago | (#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

omfg (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | about 8 years ago | (#15610072)

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

Ahh, now I understand why someone submitted this.. (1)

xiong.chiamiov (871823) | about 8 years ago | (#15610081)

...they designed it. Makes much more sense now.

Average person downloading OOo for the Mac? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15610087)

I don't think so.

I think you'd lose most of them before the fifth or so click. And "what the hell is X11?"

"RTFM, noob. There's 16 page PDF that easily describes how to install it!

Joe SixPack wont get it (4, Insightful)

Freaky Spook (811861) | about 8 years ago | (#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.

yeck grammar (0)

icepick72 (834363) | about 8 years ago | (#15610095)

They'd download it Purpose place for WFT!!! No one can accuse me of using perfect grammar all the time (actually, most of the time) however this is a professional ad guys, not some highschool hijinx or grafitti

Mac support: You've got to be joking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15610101)

OpenOffice is hardly an application I would recommend to OSX users. Why?

1) It requires that X11 is installed.
2) Has a very non-Mac user interface.

Just my 2cents.

NeoOffice is the preferred OO.o on OS X (3, Interesting)

amake (673443) | about 8 years ago | (#15610151)

NeoOffice [] doesn't require X11, works with OS X's native fonts and printing system, supports all OS X's text input methods (Japanese, Chinese, etc.), and is much more attractive and snappy as of 2.0a.

Re:Mac support: You've got to be joking. (1)

Chop (211528) | about 8 years ago | (#15610198)

Granted I am not a Mac user but at least I know about NeoOffice and that is why the (butt ugly IMHO) advertisment should be for OpenOffice and NeoOffice []


Who reads Metro? (4, Insightful)

apflwr3 (974301) | about 8 years ago | (#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.

They're not ready yet. (5, Interesting)

Cattywampus (19657) | about 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:They're not ready yet. (1)

jeffbax (905041) | about 8 years ago | (#15610172)

I'd have to agree, at least as a Mac user. I would never advertise to us with the version of OO.o for Mac. Its not even a native App, and is also much slower for it.

Marketing 101 (5, Insightful)

pipingguy (566974) | about 8 years ago | (#15610111)

Lose the freedom/hippie theme and appeal to wallets. How much does MS office cost these days?

for 10 grand (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about 8 years ago | (#15610115)

for that kind of money they better make that add look more honest and professional and not cheezy or gimmicky...

layout (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15610117)

I realize that this is an advertisement for OpenOffice, but that doesn't mean that the ad had to be created in OpenOffice. This ad looks terrible, and I (and many other graphic designers) could do a better job with 5 minutes' worth of work and a copy of Quark or InDesign.

Perhaps a community member with access to a copy of Quark or InDesign could volunteer their services? Even leaving aside the fact that the ad has virtually no content -- the Firefox ad didn't have much more, and many Nike ads have even less -- this one looks so amateurish that I might actually have a worse opinion of OpenOffice than before I saw the ad. (How am I supposed to make professional-looking documents with their program when its ad looks like this?)

Version 2 by pro designers (5, Insightful)

zamyatin (768442) | about 8 years ago | (#15610119)

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.

bad use of scarce money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15610129)

Money is a scare resource in the open source world. I think the money would be better spent on inducing people to fixing or doing boring, yet important, things. I personally think the money should be spent on hiring a professional to write a very good tutorial / intro for average users. Heck, make it a video / VCD / DVD. Just plop the DVD into the DVD player and follow along on your computer.

The ad is pathetically bad (1)

DavidinAla (639952) | about 8 years ago | (#15610138)

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 about the "freedom to tinker and change." This is not a pitch that will have merit with the average end user.

If you doubt that, think about this question. Why do MOST people who use Firefox download it? Is it because they want the freedom to modify the source code? For a few geeks, yes. For normal people, no. It's because they've heard it's easier to use or it's less prone to security issues.

If you want to get people to use your product -- even if it's free -- you have to get their attention by speaking to what THEY are interested in, not what you're interested in. This ad fails miserably at that.


"Free" is bad (4, Insightful)

Comatose51 (687974) | about 8 years ago | (#15610139)

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".

10 out of 15 OSS users pick OO over YellowBook (1)

Doomstalk (629173) | about 8 years ago | (#15610142)

It reminds me of a phone book. Not really something you want for an eye-catching ad.

what about ODF? (2, Insightful)

Fluffy_Kitten (911430) | about 8 years ago | (#15610147)

why don't they just make an ad for ODF instead of making an ad for OO.o
Isn't this thing really about promoting the format instead of the product?
Personally I use abiword and still use ODF because it is better than default abiword format.

Not free software (1)

Ireneo Funes (886273) | about 8 years ago | (#15610154)

Hey you, developers!
This is a free software ad, not free software itself.
It doesn't have to look bad and incredibly amateur.

Please, don't doom it on OS X (1)

bedouin (248624) | about 8 years ago | (#15610164)

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.

Re:Please, don't doom it on OS X (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15610203)

I agree. Note that they don't pimp it for Linux. Don't waste ad space on Mac users either.

Get busy with a better ad design if you want to get more money. I'm not wasting $$ on advertsement version .01.

Want more support? Provide a better product.

Kudos on the effort so far, however, you still have more work to do.

Rathole (1)

TrueWest175 (606770) | about 8 years ago | (#15610183)

Advertising is about long-term positioning and awareness. This is $10,000 down a rathole.

What a shitty add design (0, Redundant)

stoicio (710327) | about 8 years ago | (#15610185)

That ad is shit.

Yes, the ad is fugly... (5, Insightful)

VValdo (10446) | about 8 years ago | (#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.


Good ideas, VValdo, why not just do a mock-up... (1)

christian.einfeldt (874074) | about 8 years ago | (#15610273)

...of your ideas and send it to Ben Horst? His email address is right there on the ad. I know Ben, and I'm helping him out a bit with this totally grassroots campaign, and I KNOW that he would love the help.

Thanks for your suggestions.

Christian Einfeldt

Paper? (2, Funny)

fatius (245729) | about 8 years ago | (#15610208)

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.

More info available at this link (3, Informative)

christian.einfeldt (874074) | about 8 years ago | (#15610236)

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]

The difference is.... (2, Insightful)

spoop (952477) | about 8 years ago | (#15610244)

Firefox is arguably much better than its competition, IE, but OpenOffice is arguably worse than the competition, Office.

suggestion (2, Interesting)

RickBauls (944510) | about 8 years ago | (#15610270)

How about adding something about how OpenOffice is the first app to support the newly standardized Open Document Format? That's seemed to have worked a few times for me.
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