updated 09:15 pm EDT, Thu March 26, 2009
Microsoft ads target Macs
Microsoft has released a new series of ads that takes aim at Macs, specifically regarding features versus pricing compared to Windows machines. The company hired Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the ad agency behind the commercials featuring Gates and Seinfeld, to pose as a research firm that recruited unsuspecting people into a mock study, according to the Associated Press. If the volunteers could find a computer meeting certain criteria and within budgets ranging from $700 to $2000, they could keep the system.
The first commercial in the series features a college grad named Lauren who goes hunting for a 17-inch notebook with a comfortable keyboard, but with a budget of $1000. The first location she appears to stop is an Apple Store, but the scene quickly switches to her walking right back out and explaining that the only sub-$1000 notebook provided a 13-inch screen. "I'm just not cool enough to be a Mac person," she says.
Lauren then stops by Best Buy where she finds several systems with 17-inch screens and below the $1000 mark, including an HP system that she decides to purchase for $700.
Microsoft argues that some of the volunteers did have an opportunity to get a Mac within their respective budgets. Lauren, however, did not have the option to find any Mac that fit Microsoft's criteria, as Apple simply does not make a 17-inch notebook for under $1000.
The ad did not go into any details about the hardware specs of the HP notebook, aside from the screen size. It is also unknown if the volunteers were specifically selected for the program only after offering criteria and budgets unlikely to fit Mac systems, or if they were lead in a certain direction by the ad agency staff.
Brad Brooks, a Windows marketing executive, claims the participants weren't told they would appear in a Microsoft ad until after the shopping was completed. He said that Lauren, a member of the Screen Actors Guild, responded with "screaming, yelling, jumping up and down, high fives, thumbs up" after learning she could be featured in a commercial spot.