Microsoft’s Unsettling New Kin Ad a Pro-Kidnapping PSA?


Other issues with the Microsoft Kin aside (there are plenty), the latest ad for their new phone is very, very problematic. The Kin is Microsoft’s new teen/tween-targeted phone, a pebble-shaped social media hub wannabe with a lot of built-in apps and whatnot for the blossoming social butterfly. It’s just not clear what age these butterflies are supposed to be. By the look of the phone, with it’s Tamagotchi-like roundness and emphasis on connectivity, I’d guess maybe 7 years old? But considering Microsoft’s probably knowledge motor-skill development, maybe middle-schoolers would be a more likely demographic. Do those kids have phones nowadays?

Kin’s official website looks like an Urban Outfitters catalog and streams passably pretentious indie songs, like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, who I now feel like a loser for liking. Maybe I’m underestimating the refined hipster tastes of 7th graders here, but then again, much like MTV’s Spring Break held me in its terrifying, Jäger-lubricated thrall throughout my tween years, perhaps the hipsters featured are supposed to be older so these kids have a working model of coolness as they climb up the proverbial hot-shit ladder throughout the years?

Either way, watch this video and tell me: what the fuck is happening here? We have an attractive young, sentient-seeming thing of an indeterminate age setting off on a spirit-quest of some kind to meet her virtual friends in person for the first time. Okay. I’m going to hope we’re supposed to assume she’s 18 so when she gets hypothetically sexually assaulted to all hell and her body winds up in a ditch, Kin intact, someone somewhere can claim she was of consenting age. Okay, that was really graphic, but yeah, so’s sexual assault. That’s the point.

What is the message here? That people who seem creepy online can be not creepy in person? What about people who seem perfectly nice online? Are we to assume these people might be even nicer in the flesh? I can only assume there’ll be flesh.

Cue a bunch of tweens watching this kidnapping anti-PSA and setting off around their towns to locate all the creepers they’ve been chatting it up with online. Creepers is a best-case scenario here. I’d say, worst-case, these impressionable youths fall prey to a sexual predator wearing a suit made of the young skin of Kin pre-orderers. And the unsettling reality falls somewhere in between?

And don’t get me started on this “Matty” creeper. That a creepery name if I ever heard one. And I did– it’s MATTY.

Microsoft already got in hot water with another Kin ad (which they pulled), as its depiction of a dude taking a picture of his nipple was deemed to encourage sexting. Huh. I like sexting, both in practice and for punch-lines, so I won’t weigh in on this particular issue. Also, it had less to do with imminent sexual crimes, so my feelings aren’t quite as strong.

Sufficiently sketched-out? Good. Now take your younger sister out, buy her a Blackberry Bold and sign her up for a Kiplinger’s subscription. Some lessons don’t come easy.

On to escapism!



Yesterday was a big day for gamers, as Red Dead Redemption, Prince of Persia:The Forgotten Sands and Alan Wake all hit stores. Hell, want to keep your sister safe? Buy her all three of these suckers and lock her in the basement. I’m gonna make a great parent.

Red Dead‘s a sandbox-style Western by the makers of the Grand Theft Auto franchise that looks to be a critical darling. We’ll analyze the possible ironies inherent in including this game (which in all likelihood allows me to shoot a prostitute in the legs and hog-tie her to a traintrack) in a post criticizing this Kin ad later. I haven’t played it yet, and I’m usually pretty aware of ye olde ultraviolence in gaming, so we’ll get to that after I’ve checked it out and also had coffee.

Prince of Persia‘s the latest in a much-loved franchise (No, it didn’t begin with fake-Iranian Jake Gyllenhaal, so if you’re withdrawing from Assassin’s Creed-style platform-gaming, check this out. Prince of Persia basically invented the genre. Well, the intra-genre. We all know that Mario’s the patron saint of platforming.

That brings us to Alan Wake, a game I REALLY want to play once I convince a large enough group of people to join me in a really, really well-lit room to play it. Alan Wake‘s a psychological thriller set in a woodsy Pacific Northwest area where things start to get seriously creepy. All I know is that the darkness is your main enemy, and the darkness is already my main enemy because I’m kind of scared of it, so yeah. You bring the Xanax and I’ll bring the Xbox. Deal?

But yeah, check all of these out, circa immediately.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Taylor has written 136 articles for us.


  1. Alan Wake: The number one reason I cry myself to sleep at night for not owning an Xbox.

    And also yes, that is the creepiest ad I have ever seen. Like really? Hasn’t enough bad shit happened to kids because of the internet/social networks that encouraging them to go out and meet them in person is probably the worst idea ever? They are already full of ideas – the last thing anyone needs to do is tell them that they are good ones.

  2. Matty is creepy. The only thing worse than meeting Matty is to be Matty. Don’t be a Matty, kids.

      • taylor i am 99.978 percent sure this girl is the girl that my roommate’s ex-bf dumped her for back in high school.

        things got weird.

    • I had a Matty friend online recently. We will call her Maddy. She was relentless with the uncomfortable and inappropriate. I had to unfriend her on multiple networks and she still sometimes IMs me. It’s ridiculous. No means no, ladies and gentlemen.

      • YES! i have a matty-girl like that too. you would think they would have more pride!

  3. YES! I’m looking fwd to your Red Dead Redemption review. It seems like it’s gonna be a great game. How awesome would it be if the protagonist was a cowgirl? C’mon, c’mon. Hot! But ok. That was it.

  4. I think you’re right on the money about 7th graders being the target age group, especially since Microsoft did some product placement with the Kin on last night’s season finale of Gossip Girl – which I was NOT watching…

    • In the spirit of creepiness, your hair looks extraordinarily soft in that icon picture!

      • Thanks:) My secret is luminous color glaze in “clear shine” by John Frieda

  5. omg those Kin ads are SO CREEPY. Hulu plays them all the time now, and every time I see one, I just can’t help but think of all the ways that it could ruin my social life in one quick swipe.

  6. But, but, but…the Kin II looks cool, doesn’t it? (I want Zune on my phone, not iTunes, dammit!)

  7. And the moral of the story is that although Matty feels more confident talking to girls when he’s half-nakedly chatting them up on facebook, he’s uh… not… creepy? What is Microsoft trying to get at here?
    Also, Taylor, I predict that our parenting styles/methods are going to be strikingly similar.

    • Microsoft is trying to tell us that stereotypically nerdy looking, socially awkward guys who think “I’m hungry like the wolf” is an appropriate pick up can justify their internet douchetasticness by using the same lame excuse the jerks who think that’s a good idea in real life would: it’s not fair, you should give me a chance. The thing is, they messed up the next part. In real life, that girl would’ve maced him and ran.

  8. Need new… Prince of Persia… but must finish… Splinter Cell: Conviction.. ;/

  9. Ohh, I may have to GameFly Red Dead Redemption. Is it co-op like Saints Row, or no? Also, I think there should be a screen sharing thing for the xbox, I’m such a wuss sometimes. I need someone to play Alan Wake for me… and BioShock. >.<

    • RDR has a co-op in which you can create a posse. i need to pick this up tomorrow. i’m making it a priority.

  10. WTF. There’s some REALLY DISTURBING victim-blaming messages there in that Matty ad – “oh, I accepted your friend request, so you have the right to harass me”? o_O!!

  11. That ad is almost as creepy as a straight guy hanging around a lesbian site for no apparent reason.

      • I was going to metaphorically whack you with a ‘yes. almost.’ kind of response, but I didn’t want to intrude if it was some sort of inside joke directed at someone special.

        since no one special showed up, I just want to address your self-reply(/desperate plea for comedic reassurance) by admitting the following: your comments always delight and amuse me, very much like piñata droppings do.

  12. Have I misinterpreted the point of Facebook? I’ve never friended someone on there who I don’t know in person, and wouldn’t mind talking to/seeing what their up to occasionally. Am I supposed to be friending people I don’t know? I thought that was what myspace was for, and then people got sick of it and facebook was born…

  13. Pingback: Ypulse Essentials: The War Over ‘Glee’, Women’s Colleges, Intel’s ‘Creator’s Project’ | Ypulse

Comments are closed.