updated 12:30 am EDT, Wed October 22, 2008
New Get a Mac ad
Apple's latest Get a Mac ad stokes the marketing rivalry between the company and its primary competitor, Microsoft. The ad, available online, suggests that Microsoft sets its customers' needs at a low priority, exemplified by the ad campaign costing millions that could have been spent reworking Windows Vista. This is the third ad in a recent series that has focused on Microsoft's exorbitant advertising spending which began with the Seinfeld/Gates commercials that completely omitted any information regarding its products.
The video begins with "PC" (John Hodgman) set behind a table at a bake sale where he offers "Mac" (Justin Long) a baked good to buy. Long looks slightly confused and asks the occasion. Hodgman responds that he is trying to raise money to finally fix Vista, because the "marketing guys decided to run a big expensive ad campaign rather than use that money to fix Vista. Since my problems don't seem to be a priority to them, I'm taking matters into my own hands... a bake sale."
Mac then offers to help out PC by taking a cupcake and then asks what the price is. PC insists that Mac should take a bite, then responds to the price question with "ten million dollars, now you have to pay me because you had a bite."
The recent marketing series began with a commercial showing "PC" (John Hodgman) sitting beside a large amount of money for advertising, with only a fraction going to fix Windows Vista. The Mac character points out that there isn't enough money in the Vista pile, which PC agrees with and slides the Vista money into the advertising pile. The second commercial features PC censoring "Vista" from his vocabulary, bringing attention to Microsoft's avoidance of using the name of its operating system in recent television marketing.
This type of marketing, produced by both companies, edges into the realm of political attack ads. Although the Get a Mac video tries to hit a humorous note with viewers, it did not directly address any benefits of the Mac platform. Instead, it focused on discrediting Microsoft as a corporation while sustaining the negative messages against Vista.
Microsoft's "I'm a PC" commercials also avoid talking about the company's own products, but instead attempt to defend against the Mac ads by suggesting that Apple is promoting a stereotype of Windows users. The company took another step with negative marketing, timed right before the new MacBook event, when Microsoft's Windows Consumer Product Marketing president Brad Brooks warned of an "Apple tax" that customers face when purchasing a Mac. He also claimed that Macs offer less upgrade options and are not any more resistant to viruses and spyware than Windows-based PCs.