updated 09:40 am EDT, Wed July 8, 2009
6th Laptop Hunters Ad
Microsoft has returned to its ad campaign with the first ad in its "Laptop Hunters" campaign in weeks. The TV spot sees couple Matt and Olivia tasked with finding a system at Best Buy with a large screen, long battery life and good support for pictures at $700. They dismiss a 13-inch plastic MacBook as "too small" and too expensive at $1,000, eventually settling on an HP Pavilion dv7 exactly matching their target price. In comparing the Mac and Windows lines, Microsoft is direct and emphasizes absolute price over features.
"You can't get a Mac for $700," Matt says.
The ad is the first to appear since Apple's price-cut MacBook Pros appeared and after Apple gave a low-profile update to the plastic MacBook a week earlier and appears to steer away from the contentiousness of later "Laptop Hunters" ads, which targeted mid-range systems and frequently saw unusual choices, such as rejecting a faster MacBook Pro for a slower HP HDX system solely due to RAM and showing the $2,000 price of a 15-inch MacBook Pro but eventually settling for a Dell Studio XPS 13.
However, the ad appears to mislead viewers by misrepresenting the value of the system. The closest current match through Best Buy is the dv7-1450US; it normally sells for $850 and is significantly slower than the MacBook it's compared against, suggesting Matt and Olivia settled for an on-sale model. It has an older, 2.2GHz Turion X2 Ultra and Radeon HD 3200 video comparing against a faster, more efficient 2.13GHz Core 2 Duo and GeForce 9400M. Crucially, battery life is also relatively short, with most tests online showing between 2.5 and 3 hours of battery life in real tests despite an 8-cell battery; Apple's least expensive system usually nets 4 or more hours with a 6-cell battery.
It's also suggested that Microsoft is prompting the people in the ad, as Matt mentions that the dv7 "has Windows Photo Gallery" to justify its use for pictures.
The commercial nonetheless underscores Apple's lack of any notebook priced significantly under $1,000 and the relatively low amount of RAM and storage on the company's least expensive systems. HP's model has 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive where Apple's model carries 2GB of RAM and a 160GB disk.