Creativity: Apple vs Microsoft. Mac vs PC Marketing

By now most of the public has seen at least one of the many creative Mac vs PC commercials. If you are like me I find them hilarious and very memorable. Already thousands of spoofs have been generated using a similar type of message delivery. The Mac vs PC campaign is so unique and memorable it will most likely go down in history as one of the best.

Microsoft however was not amused. After Vista failed to meet expectations and criticized across the board, Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft blamed the commercials for the poor view of Vista. Microsoft than launched a $300 million dollar ad campaign to fight back.

I find this “battle” quite amusing because the type of ads that are produced are only further affirming the image the public has of each company. Microsoft as the out of touch, big bad company that throws money to get what it wants. Apple as the hip young company who are well in tune with what consumers want and one of the best at marketing it’s products. I’ve summarized their campaigns embedded the relevant videos below. Definitely check out the Apple ones.

Mac vs. PC
Before starting the discussion, see below one of the old original Mac vs PC ad. This will give you a feeling for the Mac vs. PC ad campaign. These Ads are well done because they are fast, clean, to the point, addresses advantages of a MAC, highlights it’s features, builds a cool brand image, doesn’t sound condescending and is just simply well made.

Microsoft goes on the Defensive!
After announcing their $300 million dollar advertising initiative, Microsoft started off by launching the Mojave Experiment where they try to play off the issues with Vista as a big misunderstanding. Unfortunately this backfired as people perceived this ad as very condescending and blaming the poor launch on the ignorance of it’s consumers. It was also criticized because the issues of Vista were widely documented but rather than addressing the problem they seem to point fingers elsewhere. This campaign was immediately stopped.

Mojave Experiment

Microsoft then launched the widely anticipated TV spots starring Bill Gates and Seinfeld. Unfortunately the ads were not only excruciating long, they didn’t seem to have a point and said nothing about Microsoft products. They paid Seinfeld $10 million dollars to be part of this campaign. Unfortunately after two spots, Microsoft scrapped it. Get a feel for it below. I wouldn’t watch the whole thing. It’s long.

1 of 2 Bill Gates / Seinfield Commercials

I’m a PC
Microsoft then launched “I’m a PC” ads. These were the most well received. However Microsoft is clearly on the defensive trying to shake off their image by associating every day people with a “PC”. Only problem this does not promote Vista, Windows, or Microsoft for that matter. It doesn’t mention a single product features, doesn’t have simple message and just doesn’t have the type of focus the Mac vs PC ads were able to execute so well.

Apple pokes fun
Apple continues to pump out their clever Mac vs. PC ads. Their most recent ads decides to poke a little fun of Microsoft’s marketing problems. Just watch them. No need to explain.

Apple: Bean Counter
Addresses Microsoft’s $300 million dollar effort to “Market” their way out of the problem rather than investing the money in fixing the problem.

Apple: V Word
Another small jab at Microsoft attempt to mask the problem by using more neutral words like Windows instead of using Vista.

Apple: Mac vs PC – PR Lady
Addresses Microsoft’s attempt to cover up their issues. They already disassociate Microsoft from their more hip products like Xbox & Zune. Microsoft also bragged that 83% of their Vista users would recommend it to others while 89%expressed satisfaction. But it was later found that about half of those responses were “somewhat likely” to recommend and “somewhat satisfied” with their experience. Most consumer satisfaction ratings repesents only “very satisfied” users. For comparison the Apple iPhone as a 79% “very satisfied” rating in an independent study while Microsoft has a 43% rating in their OWN study. They also self-declared Vista as the “best operating system we had ever made”. Self-declaration. Nice.

What about others? New York times says “Windows Vista is beautiful”. Great, except the actual review was titled “Vista Wins on Looks. As for Lacks…”

Apple: Mac vs PC – Support Group

What are your thoughts about this? I find it humorous. You?

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  1. Thanks Pedro for sharing your thoughts. I think you are right in that Apple needs to be very careful about how far they want to take these ads. Since the Vista debacle, the ads have become a bit more sharp. They need to keep a careful pulse on their consumer base and make sure they too don’t come off as some sort of bully despite being the smaller company.

  2. exactly. Apple would be “the bigger brand” if they didn’t pick on Microsoft. They just don’t need to point out their mistakes, that’s all… their products and atittude are already perceived as being better, so why be mean?:)

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