The Lowdown on the Microsoft Ads

Quite uncharacteristically, Microsoft has actually been responding to Apple’s often humorous “Mac vs. PC” ads. If you look at Microsoft’s history in advertising, it’s always been incredibly horrible. In fact, there aren’t really any words to describe how bad it’s been. If anything, it scares me that I use Windows machines daily when I see some of the stuff they’ve put out – I mean just take a look at Steve Ballmer’s idea of advertising:

If that doesn’t make you want to throw your Windows machine out the window… Then of course we saw some really strange things come out of Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld. I actually though the first was okay, but the second they released made no sense at all. Of course, they got people talking at the time and were a really clear sign that Microsoft is acknowledging that they are really getting annoyed with Apple. That said, they certainly didn’t make me want to go out and put some money down on more Microsoft products. Here are the first and second “Seinfeld ads” that Microsoft put out and I’ll leave it to you to decide whether they make sense or not:

Now fast forward about eight months and Microsoft is back at it again with some real PC vs. Mac stuff that is very clearly targeted directly at Apple. I’ve actually been very amazed that Microsoft has put out some form of coherent advertising aimed at the consumer market given their track record. Here, you are taken through the computer shopping experience that is always oh-so fun.

Now I think I need to point out that while these are many of the most popular recent ads from Microsoft, there are in fact a lot more. Reading the news you’d think that this is all that exists, but they have been fighting back against Apple much harder than most think. One thing you can bet on is that the OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers, such as Dell, HP, etc.) are really happy about this.

Again, I’ll leave it up to you if you are at all convinced by these. I think that some good points are brought up about price versus performance, especially given the current state of the economy (yeah, I’m getting really tired of hearing that too, sorry). They also are really highlighting the fact that you get a lot more choice when you choose the Windows platform, which is an easy argument to make when considering that Apple is a single OEM against many such as Dell, HP, Acer, Sony, Lenovo, Toshiba, Asus and Samsung. I also think they did a good job of getting paid actors to make it feel pretty genuine. There was actually some backlash in the media about the fact that these are paid actors despite the fact that it’s stated that they pulled them off the street. Really? Get over it people – not everything you see on TV is real and no, there is no Easter Bunny.

Truthfully though, despite the fact that I’m completely “a PC” I do still prefer the Apple ads. They are simply funnier in my opinion. Apple is quite simply the king of creating brands and has done quite the same with their Mac vs. PC ads. That said, I will give Microsoft one thing: they have definitely produced viral videos that people want to share for better or for worse. Now I leave the rest to you. What do you think of these ads? Cool or lame?

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