Mix '09: Is Microsoft's brand so tarnished that they're ashamed to use it?
I just saw an ad for Mix '09, Microsoft's main developer conference (their version of Adobe MAX). The interesting thing is that there was absolutely no Microsoft branding on the ad at all. The other Mix '09 banner on the same ad similarly had no Microsoft branding.
When you visit the Mix '09 site, you still don't see Microsoft branding and, although the copy mentions Microsoft, there seems to be a marked attempt to disassociate the Microsoft brand from the event.
The introductory paragraph, for example, reads:
There’s something different in the air at MIX09. Some might call it love - love of the interaction between designers and developers; love of inspiration and innovation through interactive media; love of everything that makes the Web truly great.
No mention of Microsoft.
In the About Mix/Who Should Attend sidebar, Microsoft is mentioned but I couldn't find a single mention that Mix is organized by Microsoft or is Microsoft's conference there or on the About page:
The MIX Conference is a gathering of designers and developers who build cutting edge web sites. If you want to discuss the future of the Web, learn about the latest web technologies from Microsoft, or just rub shoulders with industry professionals, MIX is the place to be.
If you scroll to the bottom of the page, you do see the Microsoft logo and a message "This site is hosted for Microsoft by ORCSWEB © 2007 - 2008 Microsoft" which is the only thing that actually tells you that the conference is owned and organized by Microsoft.
For all its faults, Adobe at least calls their conference Adobe MAX and it's hosted on their web site. It's clear right from the name that the conference is owned and organized with Adobe. Truth in advertising FTW.
It's interesting to see Microsoft trying to keep such a low profile with their own conference. Are they trying to make it appear like the conference is a community-organized conference or are they actually ashamed of their own brand? Could it be that the Microsoft brand has been so badly tarnished in certain industries that it has actually begun to harm them, leading to efforts to disassociate themselves from it?