Microsoft has turned the tables on Apple, featuring people in ads who are "not cool enough to be a Mac person".
The new commercial takes a tone that will hit home with people suffering through the current tight economic times, gently ridiculing Apple's smug "Mac guy" in its Mac vs PC commercials. The commercial goes on a mission with “Lauren” to find a laptop that packs “speed, a comfortable keyboard and a 17-inch screen” for $1,000 or less.
The camera follows Lauren into an Apple store, which she refers to as “the Mac store” and after she’s gone in (no filming allowed inside, of course, Apple rules...) she explains to viewers that the option for less than $1,000 was a little notebook with a 13-inch monitor. “I’m just not cool enough to be a Mac person," she says, pointing out she is on a budget and that spending twice that to get a Mac laptop is just not feasible.
Lauren then heads to a Best Buy store (a US chain a bit like Harvey Norman) where she is able to examine a multitude of laptops before she finally settles for an HP Windows notebook that rings up for $699.99. After she purchases her computer she states “I’m a PC and I got just what I wanted.”
The advertisement, shown below is set to air in the US this week:
Microsoft’s advertising agency Crispin Porter + Boguksy used
Craigslist and other sites as a recruiting tool for prospective Los
Angeles computer shoppers. The individuals were offered anywhere from
$700 and $2,000 to purchase for themselves a new PC. The consumers were
told that the project was being conducted for a research firm, and they
were never told anything was for Microsoft. Participants were allowed
to keep any remaining money, thus giving them reason to search for a
computer which had everything they needed at the lowest possible price.
This ad is just one of several which will be aired in a series of ad
spots titled “Laptop Hunter,” which follows the most recent “The
Rookies” campaign which features young children starting at the age of
4 ½ uploading photos and sending them to their friends and family that
tries to point out the ease of use regarding Windows PCs.
Lauren's dig is quite possibly one of the most effective attacks Microsoft has made on Apple, as part of an ongoing publicity campaign by Microsoft to highlight the fact that PCs with Windows are cheaper than Macs.
Comments by Steve Ballmer last week support this idea: "Apple gained about one point, but now I think the tide has really turned back the other direction. Ballmer added, "The economy is helpful. Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment — same piece of hardware — paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be."
This is one of many ads Microsoft has created after blundering the launch of Vista and significantly damaging its Windows brand image. Apple took advantage of that with ads depicting Microsoft as an uptight and stodgy office guy, while the Mac guy was cool and hip. Although some of the ads were classic truths, like the one below, the Mac guy was also described by many users as representing Apple's smug approach, and this actually made them feel sorry for the homely PC guy.
Recent ads by Microsoft featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Microsoft founder Bill Gates had a cryptic, difficult to decipher theme, but showed Gates and Seinfeld trying to interact with "real people". Though the ads were probably intended to show Microsoft as a quirky and cool company that could laugh at itself, the ads were roundly condemned by consumers and dumped soon after they were first aired.