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New Get a Mac ad implies wasted spending by Microsoft

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.

by MacNN Staff





  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969


    pot calling kettle...

    "suggests that Microsoft sets its customers' needs at a low priority..."

    Well, I need Firewire on a laptop...but I shouldn't have to spend almost $2000 to get it!

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Because marketing budgets are always so transferrable to software development. And we all know that to solve a problem, you just throw more money and manpower at it. That always works!

    And as Feathers said, its not like Apple ignores customer needs in order to fit products into categories, or to make something 'cool' looking. People have only been complaining for over a year about lack of copy/paste on the iphone, yet there's still no copy/paste. I hope that development money didn't go to making one of these shark-jumping mac/pc commercials.

  1. jpellino

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Does anyone think the $10M Seinfeld commercial got a single person to dump Linux or Mac? OK - as reality TV proves, there's always someone who will do any given thing, so let's' be gracious and say one person per platform. That's $5M per switcher. Great strategy.

  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: testudo

    And we all know that to solve a problem, you just throw more money and manpower at it. That always works!

    So what would work? Less manpower and no money??? Dont show us problems.. show us solutions. What should they do?

  1. David Esrati

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Is this a political ad?

    I guess the negative campaigning from the election is now seeping into Apple ads. The bean counter one was funny - this one was almost pathetic.
    Apple has spent more on advertising every year than Microsoft until this year- is this really what Apple wants to brag about.
    I can see the Microsoft ad coming next-
    Why would you want to spend $3000 for a 17" laptop when you can buy at least 3 of them if you run Vista.
    Or- want firewire- available in a laptop for $500.
    Or- want Blu-ray, computers running Vista have that option- Mac owners don't- do you really want to be behind the curve?
    Or- ever looked for an expandable Mac? They start at $2700. Ours- $399.
    Apple is heading down a very bad path here.
    I'd place a bet that instead of running this ad- they could offer a pizza box - LC style Mac for $600 and still make a killing- or a previous gen macbook for $700 and kick market a**-
    instead, we are treated to ads about Microsofts ad budget.
    Apple- time to come down a notch.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    expandable mac

    Technically, an expandable mac starts at $2000 (either the MBP with its expresscard slot, or the macpro).

    Then again, if you compare prices and specs, you'd be a fool to buy the low side of the MBP (and probably the MacPro), as the mid-range/second level offers so much more for so little extra money.

    I remember when Apple sold the overpriced and uninspiring PowerMacG5 for $1500 that was so lacking in specs, I couldn't believe anyone would buy it (esp. compared to the $2000 model that included more RAM, more HD, better video, TWO processors, etc).

    And seeing how Apple has treated the mini over the last two years, you really get that feeling that Apple puts these out there to fail, then say "See, no one wants a cheap mac!"

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Oh yeah, golly gee - the Mac is so stupid and expensive no one buys them. Uh, check the sales figures, jackasses. And by the way, David Assrati - since when does advertises work like this: "Oh, I won't criticize the competition because they might criticize us." -- You don't see the ads you suggested because they are ineffective. Apple is making a killing now - why would they want to sell a machine with a 9% margin when they can sell them with 35% margins?? People don't want a cheap Mac. they just want a Mac!

  1. peteck

    Joined: Dec 1969


    apple tax = profit margin

    Apple gets blasted for "overpriced" products, but innovates at levels far greater than the cut-throat-cost windows crowd. I am completely happy to continue to spend a couple of extra dollars on "overpriced" apple gear, even if the nuts-to-nuts cost on the hardware is cheaper for the Windows stuff. You get what you pay for, and I've never had a Windows system that I liked better than my Apple boxes. I never liked my saturn more than my honda, either.

    Apple tax = profit margin.
    profit margin = better budget for R&D.
    R&D = pipeline for creating products like ipod, iphone, appleTV, app store, the iLife suite ...
    iPods = cottage industry for app store developers and "ipod sleeves" = more jobs, more entrepreneurs.

    That's the business. Any company that changes the industry puts significant dollars into R&D, which is funded by profit margins. I don't think it really costs $29 to manufacture a 3M filtrete furnace filter, either.

  1. jvputten

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Price isn't Cost

    David Esrati confuses purchase price with ownership cost over time. Search the Internets, David, for ownership cost comparisons between Mac and PC, and you'll see that the Mac is more cost effective.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The Mac/PC argument really should be about value. People buying Macs feel like they are getting a better value and people buying PC's feel like they are getting a better value. Guess what, it's possible for both to be right. We all don't think or work the same. For me, the better value is a Mac. I'll pay more but I'll save more in the long run, use it constantly with pleasure and get more when it's time to sell.

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