Friday, March 27, 2009

Microsoft's New Anti-Apple Ad Campaign

The Internet is abuzz with discussion of Microsoft's new ad campaign, which tweaks Apple for their higher prices. As reported by
"The most prominent piece of the campaign deployed so far has been a TV commercial in which "Lauren" is given a $1000 budget with which to find a 17" notebook computer. After a brief stop at a "Mac Store" where she comes away empty-handed noting that the only computer available for under $1000 has a 13" screen and saying "I'm just not cool enough to be a Mac person," she settles on a $699 HP notebook from Best Buy."
The consensus seems to be that while the ads are deceptive (the $699 HP notebook, with its terrible screen resolution, slow ram, crap battery, lousy 100Mb ethernet, shared graphics memory, Vista, etc., is in no way comparable to a Mac notebook), they are nonetheless a smart play in the bad economy.

But I can't see any point at all. People up pay for Macs for two reasons: 1. higher quality/value, and/or 2. coolness factor. This campaign does nothing to contest the former, and actually helps boost Apple marketing on the latter.

So the only consumers conceivably targeted by this campaign are those who find Macs neither better or cooler. In other words, the hordes of lulled-out PC users who weren't thinking of switching, anyway. So why spend megabucks to reinforce their lull? Is Microsoft so concerned about its market position that it must reinforce the instincts of consumers who have no Mac appreciation, and so who'd never imaginably pay Apple's premium in a recession, anyway?


Dave said...

I don't think that Microsoft is taking on Apple on the quality issue in this campaign, but I disagree that they don't have good arguments to make on the other propositions:

The ad is nothing if not an argument that the PC offers better value. On your point #1, I'm sure Microsoft wouldn't agree that value and quality should be conflated. I think this is the main "logical" point being made in the ad.

Considering how clumsy Microsoft has been at countering Apples ads, in the past, at least this campaign is a little subtler. I think the implicit message of the ad is: paying up for coolness isn't cool anymore. In this regard, they are simply body-surfing on the bad-economy wave.

Dave said...

Farhad Manjoo weighs in on this topic:

Magic said...

Again, Microsoft misses the point. I think that Microsoft has just done Apple a favor by giving them more media mileage AND giving Apple users more reason to hate it and air that hate all over the blogosphere. Microsoft has failed miserably and are now being exposed for trying to make fools out of people :)

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