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JimD's picture
2626 pencils

Microsoft's new "I'm a PC" ads

With the utter failure of Microsoft's recent "day in the life" ads starring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld, Microsoft has launched phase 2 of their campaign to combat Apple's "Hello, I'm a Mac" ad campaign.

As with the previous Seinfeld ads, this latest round is well done as far as cinematography goes, but once again there doesn't appear to be a point. Ok, so I "get" that they're trying to say that everyday people use a PC. But who doesn't already know that? And more importantly, who cares? What does that say about Microsoft and its products? The fact that some goofball who steam-cleans my shirts for a living uses a PC doesn't exactly make me want to run out and buy Windows, nor would it make me feel better about MS if I already did use Windows.

So how are the new ads? Judge for yourself. In my opinion, I could only come up with one word to describe the campaign: FAIL!

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3dogmama's picture
1990 pencils

I like these ads. They humanize the PC via their portrayal of everyday users, and the poke at Mac at the beginning was smart.

Mac has a very niche market within the arts field, and their marketing department's idea of stereotyping was humourous for a bit, but now it's falling short with me. If Mac's people wish to convert PC users to the Mac system then they better start working up a new angle. The Mac character within those commercials is really starting to annoy me and the PC dude is gaining my sympathy. MR. JOBS--GET SOME MUCH NEEDED NEW MATERIAL.

"Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible."
— Frank Zappa

"Art -- the one achievement of Man which has made the long trip up from all fours seem well advised." - James Thurber

Esquare's picture
10 pencils

"Mac has a very niche market within the arts field"

I don't know where you've been lately. But Apple/Mac has expanded beyond the "art's field" years ago. Even Microsoft has noticed that.

3dogmama's picture
1990 pencils

I, along with the marketeers at Microsoft, have of course noticed the upsurge of Apple's applications, but you go and tell some Blow Joe PC user what kind of equipment you work on you generally hear back from them: "Hey...you one of those graphics designers type people?" Mac still has the rap for being a system for graphic designers and not your average computer user.
IMO.

"Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible."
— Frank Zappa

"Art -- the one achievement of Man which has made the long trip up from all fours seem well advised." - James Thurber

joelnewcomer's picture
34 pencils

I think these ads suck. They immitate the style of the Mac ads, but don't even try to talk features or why Windows is worth buying (like the Mac ads do). But my girlfriend liked the one she saw, so I guess it is working on some people...probably works more with people who know less about computers...it is the lemming message....everybody else is doing it, so you should too (jump off a cliff, that is).

onegirlcreative's picture
1090 pencils

but let's face it, Americans are stupid. If we see an ad or a celebrity wearing a certain style, or if Oprah says read this book—we do it!! Why must we try and be walking clones of celebrities and the like, just because they happen to have money?

I mean, I'm sorry, but those eyeglasses that Sarah Palin wears are outdated, to say the least. And apparently the Japanese manufacturer that made them is all of a sudden in high demand of this particular frame style. Why on earth would anybody want to emulate Sarah Palin??? Ugh!!!

Why can't we as Americans think for ourselves?

I'm assuming, that's what Bill Gates is aiming for. He's trying to make the Windows platform appear "cool," like the Mac platform. It ain't happening.

Look at what Dell tried to do with their recent colors on their laptops. Hmmm...look familiar? Didn't Mac do that with their iBook Clamshells 7 or 8 years ago?

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"I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy as long as I can paint." ~ Frida Kahlo

www.onegirlcreative.com

olliesan1's picture
288 pencils

I have to disagree with the comment that Americans are stupid. That's a pretty sweeping generalization.

Ivan's picture

Americans are no stupider than the rest of the average human population. We are all irrational beings. Some of us are more and others are less, but I don't really see a correlation between the levels of irrationality and nationality.

I think people living in harmony with religion and totalitarian regimes tend to be more irrational as they question the system less than "free" man.

Flub-Dub's picture

i agree, Americans are no stupider than the rest of the average human population. usually 80% of the population are TV monkeys and 20% think for themselves (numbers may vary, but the proportion is about right). but when you got a population of 300milion and you are a military world leader spreading democracy and peace throughout the world, those 80% will weigh much more and feel perhaps like 100% ?

i think that people living in harmony with religion and totalitarian regimes tend to be more aware of whats happening around them. capitalism is all about money making and money spending. shares, shopping and entertainment. democracy makes people numb with the idea that somehow they are in control. so after you built your comfy crib around you, you feel the need to sit and watch "Essential survival techniques" documentaries on TV.

a totalitarian regime keeps the population on the edge of survivability thus making it extremely adaptable and aware of the changes around them.

people do not accept totalitarian regimes because they are irrational, but because they cant overthrow them. all they can do is adapt and survive.

ideally, a high standard of living should translate in a higher level of education and a better production and assimilation of culture (literature, history, arts, etc). You Americans somehow got that wrong. After 2nd World War you decided that money and guns is the way to hold the power.
That is a bit on the dark side.

I would not mind if a great culture would assimilate my culture, but I would mind as hell if some highly payed guns would do the law around.

Ah, this discussion is neverending! Lets talk design, shall we?
Everybody knows sports, politics and women. :p

3dogmama's picture
1990 pencils

I've yet to meet the man who knows women. My father, after nearly 45 years of marriage, does not know the workings of my mother's mind.
Cheers. ;)
3dog

"Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible."
— Frank Zappa

"Art -- the one achievement of Man which has made the long trip up from all fours seem well advised." - James Thurber

RichardR's picture
65 pencils

Looks like they are trying to combat Apple's message of the mac being "fun" and the PC being not so. By showing a wide range of folks, with different professions and needs for a computer, they are showing the versatility of windows.

As adverts, they made very little impact on me. Yes it shows its versatility but it doesnt tell me what they can do or what it looks like etc. Bill Gates must be feeling the pressure if he has to star in his own ads.

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onegirlcreative's picture
1090 pencils

As much as I loathe the Windows platform, I actually like these ads. They're clever, and they go beyond the quintessential PC-type of nerdy user. They identify with EVERYBODY who uses a PC—from a nerd to a tree hugger, if you will.

It's brilliant!

But I'm still sticking with my Mac(s). Sorry Bill. Nice try.

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"I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy as long as I can paint." ~ Frida Kahlo

www.onegirlcreative.com

KellyR's picture
525 pencils

I think these ads are a step in the right direction... and much better than the Seinfeld ones. (Sorry, Bill, but you really do not belong in commercials.)

The ads build a good base to start off a series of campaigns focusing on and appealing to various personality-types.

Of course, nit-picker in me tore apart that scuba diver, though, saying "I'm a PC" as she appears to drop down into the shark cage... without a regulator in her mouth or a tank on her back. (As a diver, that just says to me, "I'm a PC, and I'm pretty freaking stupid because I'm incapable of paying attention to details and realizing that if I'm going to pose as a diver, I need the right freaking equipment on my person.") Of course, they fixed that oversight in the other commercial where she's actually down in the cage and being filmed underwater. They made up for some of the stupidity with the "I'm kinda scared" sign.

Anyhow. They're making progress. I agree Apple's starting to do the sarcastic laid-back college guy to death. Time for some new material, as I'm also starting to feel sorry for Mr. PC.

I'm still married to my Macs, though. I can do work on a PC, but I love my OSX. So clean and straightforward.

Doug M.'s picture
421 pencils

i HATE these commercials. I must admit I kind of liked the concept when I first saw it about 4 days ago, but after seeing it twice, its just annoying!

ald's picture
62 pencils

I think these ads do a great job at counteracting the steriotype, but like stated previously, they don't say why PC's are a good choice. Shall we all go and buy a PC because everyone else is doing it?

Personally, I think a defensive marketing campaign is weak, and people will continue to migrate to Macs because although poking fun at PCs, they always say WHY they are better, not just say that everyone is doing it. Memorable, Emotional, and Purposeful, not just Emotional.

Very Respectfully,
Anthony

Anthony
-Where did the fedoras go?

BigPicture's picture
19 pencils


"I think these ads suck. They immitate the style of the Mac ads, but don't even try to talk features or why Windows is worth buying (like the Mac ads do)."


"...people will continue to migrate to Macs because although poking fun at PCs, they always say WHY they are better..."

Are you guys serious? Come on! The equivilent apple ads are so freakin' lame exactly because they say nothing about Macs and only crap on PC/MS...they never mention anything about why their computers are good. It's cuz deep down they know (that we know) that it's all the same hardward with a very slightly different opperating system. Think about it...what's really so different? Same internal hardware, same type of window based interface, same controls. You think different color icons and a command key instead of a control key is really "different"?

The parallels with the current political system is quite ironic...two sides of the same coin masquerading a different choices. Each side spending more energy putting down the other than telling folks about why they're better.

The American economic system is built on the illusion of choice: Coke vs. Pepsi / Visa vs. Mastercard / Ford vs. GM / Republican vs. Democrat...how is Mac vs. PC any different?

It's what you do with the tools...not who makes the tools...that really matters!

Doug M.'s picture
421 pencils

eh, not true. Mac OSX is built upon Unix, Microsoft never has been. They are completely different operating systems. I love macs. If they're "so similar" why dont i like windows as well? (cause macs are better.) Also, the comment about apple's commercials not telling about why apple is better is not true either. They often talk about time machine, quicklook, all of Mac OSX's features. otherwise, there wouldn't be a lot of those commercials.

KrunkPony's picture
144 pencils

I think that is the music Artist Spank Rock in the ad. I'm not exactly sure. But I saw him live once and I think there were macs on the stage.

-T

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Doug M.'s picture
421 pencils

haha, funny...but sad if he's gone over to the dark side...

olliesan1's picture
288 pencils

I agree with 3dog. I think these ads humanize PC. I like them.

mokenke's picture
314 pencils

According to some news source, these ads were partly produced with macs.

mokenke

JimD's picture
2626 pencils

People are acting like that's a revelation. Of course the ads were partially made on Macs. I'm quite certain all of MS's print advertising and collateral were made on Macs. That's because Microsoft doesn't do this stuff in-house, they use an ad agency. And every major ad agency I know of use Macs.

These "news sources" have really got to stop trying to make news when and where there is none.

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Visit The Graphic Mac for graphics and Mac OS tips, reviews, tutorials and discussion.

Ivan's picture

Fails. This campaign makes the original campaign even more famous.

gwells's picture
1707 pencils

this post made me think of a great cartoon on penny arcade about the gates/seinfeld campaign...

http://www.penny-arcade.com/images/2008/20080915.jpg

Doug M.'s picture
421 pencils

haha. thats a great one. so random

Doug M.'s picture
421 pencils

whats up with the human being guy? its kinda a ridiculous comment. I hate all of them really, they dont mesh like they should. Each one should go into the next (like: "Roger that, I'm a PC" then: "My names Roger, I'm A PC" and then: "I'm A PC and I study names", etc.

Rolf's picture
9 pencils

B-O-R-I-N-G

ctiani's picture
1 pencil

The poke at mac at the beginning seems to polarize people on these spots. Some of us mac users may resent the use the apple-created "pc guy"... but surely the pc users resent "pc guy" even more.

Do these ads humanize the PC? Certainly.

But more specifically, they do exactly what they set out to do at the beginning with "pc guy" poke. They de-stereotype the windows machine. Not all PC users are pocket-protector adorning, calculator-wielding, loafer-wearing accountants and bankers. They are people just like us, who use their pc in their own way, for their own "creative" projects... even if what they are doing doesn't fit within the apple-defined "creative" category.

Doug M.'s picture
421 pencils

best review of the ad so far for me. well written. I agree, but I still don't like microsoft.

twinnstar's picture
1 pencil

I thought "Pharrel? You're a PC? ...i don't believe that for a second."

Turns out - I was right! :)

Microsoft Gets Pharrel to Lie For Them"

oh, and check this out while you're at it:

"I'm a PC commercials Made on a Mac"

MirandaV's picture
2 pencils

That's pathetic. That MS got Pharrel to lie for them? Sure. But what I'm reffering to is that you've had so much of Apple's Kool-Aid that you've begun stereotyping people as their marketing has asked you to.

Pharrel? Oh, he's too cool/creative/etc to use a PC!

(Here, watch me do it, it's easy: "I guess Mac users are all sellouts!")

onegirlcreative's picture
1090 pencils

Just because these regular everyday people are using PCs, doesn't mean that I am going to rush out and buy one. I love my Macs, and therefore I will NEVER, EVER buy a PC.

But I still like the commercials....

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"I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy as long as I can paint." ~ Frida Kahlo

www.onegirlcreative.com

Doug M.'s picture
421 pencils

Ya, this campaign wouldn't make me want to go get a windows computer (if I didn't already own a mac, and love it). I think Microsoft is relying solely on their reputation right now (and their reputation isn't so good) because Vista was a huge flop (a 7 year flop!). (I don't know if what I just wrote made sense.)

Doug M.'s picture
421 pencils

I absolutely hate the pc guy in the beginning. his voice bugs me so much.

The Ad Mad's picture
24 pencils

I think this campaign hits right in the spot, it's really good. Finally a good one Microsoft!

steveballmer's picture
653 pencils

What we are saying is that you Mac "people" (for lack of a better term) have victimized us the vast majority! "I'm a PC and I have been stereotyped!"
People hate being stereotyped!
We are as mad as hell, and we are not gonna take it any more!

http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com

http://stevefakeballmer.wordpress.com
I am not Steve Ballmer pretending not to be me!

Creative_NRG's picture
483 pencils

Stop being a cry baby. Microsoft has been "copying" (stealing) ideas from Apple dating back to the creation of Windows and now it's you who is being victimized? How is Vista and that Zune player working for you?

Besides, don't you have a 'bigger' problem on your hands (Google) than to be worrying about Apple?

Here's a reality check... Most of the Mac users have used a PC and you're crappy operating system for years and despite what you believe, "they get it" and dig deep into their pocketbook to get as far away from you as humanly possible.

For fun Apple should respond with a "copy cat" ad.

Opening Scene: PC Guy fumbling with his Zune trying to mimic the Apple Guy with his slick iPhone.

Apple Guy: "What are you doing PC?"

PC Guy: "Trying to copy you."

Apple Guy (Looking confused): "Again, Why?"

PC Guy: "Because you've got this great new operating system that your users like and people won't upgrade to Vista."

Apple Guy: "That sucks... maybe you got a bad copy?"

PC Guy: "Yeah, that's the story of my life."

Doug M.'s picture
421 pencils

thanks for taking the time to tell him that we get it. I appreciate it.

onegirlcreative's picture
1090 pencils

GOOD POST, Creative_NRG!!!! I couldn't have said it better myself.

BTW, you should definitely forward your idea for that next Apple ad to Apple. That was PERFECT!!!

Oh Newsflash, Steve—or whatever the hell your name is—you are in a MAC-based forum, so guess what? You're going to get demolished regardless of how much you fight us. WE WILL WIN!

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"I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy as long as I can paint." ~ Frida Kahlo

www.onegirlcreative.com

Creative_NRG's picture
483 pencils

Thanks for the kind words but Apple has a strict 'Unsolicited Idea Submission Policy'.

http://www.apple.com/legal/policies/ideas.html

Based on Microsoft's recent disaster of an ad campaign they should fire their current ad agency and start searching for something 'original'. The one problem with 'copying' off others is that you forget to think for yourself.

webmagnate's picture
1 pencil

PCs are for regular people... but I'd venture to say PCs are for the professionals aswell. Most companies that aren't into creative endeavours use PCs. Gamers use PCs... so yes, PC needs the respect it deserves.


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drhell's picture
1 pencil

Am a long time reader of the creative bits blog, but this is my first post!

I have been working in the web/media/advertising industry for over a decade and it seems to me that some people appear to forget simple marketing. To sell a product you focus on features but more importantly BENEFITS. The original Mac campaigns are designed to outline the BENEFITS of a Mac over a PC and were breaking the stereo-type that the Mac is purely for us arty farty types.

Maybe I am missing the point, but the MS ads appear to be more of a PR excersize than any attempt to connect with their clients needs for a GOOD OS. To be honest I wouldn't fancy trying to sell Windows over OS X as a long time user of both systems the only advantage Windows appears to have is a greater proliferation of games. For me these ads are just are over defensive, okay go after the Mac OS- but first out-do them with something you can use (perhaps MS should do a campaign saying that you can only get Google Chrome on a PC at the moment)!

Diana DeLoach's picture
7 pencils

Is that David Carson in one of the PC ads?
hoping not....

love what you do, do what you love

inorganik's picture
3 pencils

Don't know if someone has posted this site in the comments, but it cracks me up! I have refreshed it many, many times.

http://andimapc.com/

starzarefalln's picture
34 pencils

I think these ads are fabulous! They are not trying to please the almighty designer, such as yourself Mr. JimD. You are not the target for this ad! Average Joe, house wives, college kids... thats the target! Think outside the apple.

PS I love my mac!

onegirlcreative's picture
1090 pencils

So I am posting an excerpt of this article which pertains to this particular discussion.

"Apple need not be much concerned about its rival Microsoft, which can do little but bang its head against the wall in despair about the Vista fiasco. As if Microsoft’s marketers had not suffered enough indignities, Computerworld gleefully discovered last month that some images for Microsoft’s “I’m a PC” campaign posted on the company’s own corporate site had been created with Macs. (Microsoft has since scrubbed away the incriminating mention of the Mac in the images’ meta-data.)."

Interesting.

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"The

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"I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy as long as I can paint." ~ Frida Kahlo

www.onegirlcreative.com

MirandaV's picture
2 pencils

The Seinfeld commercials were so ineffective I can't even remember what they were about. But I gotta say--I love this campaign.

My impression of Apple's longstanding campaign was they were beating the life out of MS' image with every new commercial. Sure, the commercials were cookie-cutter, but again, my impression was they were highly effective as selling Apple as "cool" and Microsoft as the OS for mildly challenged pencil pushers.

When I first saw this ad, I thought, "Brilliant! They've finally found a way to answer this attack!" And it's spot-on too, goes right to the heart of and undermines the stereotypes Apple was trying to create.

Who knows, maybe it's because I'm already a PC user (XP, Vista/Ubuntu dual-boot) that this commercial made sense to me (and I think PC is more concerned about keeping their market share than taking Apple's). All I know is as a writer, thinker, gamer, and geek who enjoys the near total control* I have over my computer, none of these commercials have much chance of changing my buying habits, and I can also take a step back as a marketer and see why it works. It says hey, Apple's trying to make you feel like a loser for using a PC, but that's just cheap emotional marketing hype. Here're the facts: real people use PCs, and it's the industry standard for just about every industry except the creative ones. (Heck, I work in an in-house department, yet only one of our graphic designers has ever insisted on using a Mac [alongside their PC!]). My team members either prefer MS or don't want to deal with compatibiliy issues with the rest of the firm and our upcoming ERP. Besides, these days, are there really that many differences between using CS3/4 in XP and using it in Leopard? Someone needs to tell me what the big deal is.)

Re Google: Yeah, but few of your average Joes know Google is a competitor...it's like the primaries...ignore your current competition and maybe everyone else will too. Frame the debate and you control peoples' perceived choices.

*Vista is a major step down in that department sadly, but I've tweaked it to about where I need it now that I'm three weeks in.

Anonymous's picture

ha, ha, ha... "these ads works on people that doesn't know much about computers" ha, ha.... first of all, i'm a mac and pc user. Most of the people i know who uses mac system don't know how to format their computers or have panic on doing so or installing new software.... but... what a lack of respect we have with our PCs, how easy it seems to download many, many shit of internet and install it, how easy it's making a ghost security copy and format the computer... but i do not find anyone, not one!!! who knows the existing same possibility in the Utility Disk...

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