Apple Ads About Microsoft Ads About Apple Ads About Microsoft

By  |  Monday, October 20, 2008 at 12:59 am

Apple released a couple of new “Get a Mac” ads today, and while I wouldn’t usually bother to mention that here, these ones are noteworthy: They make direct reference to Microsoft’s current $300 million ad campaign for Windows. Which itself makes direct reference to earlier ads in the “Get a Mac” series.

Here’s “Bean Counter,” which makes mention of the cost of the campaign and wonders if the dough might have been better spent–a point I’ve been known to make myself:

And here’s one called “The V Word,” which seems to riff on the fact that the new Windows ads don’t mention Vista by name:

I kinda wonder whether these venture too far into the realm of insider baseball: The first one appears to assume that you care about Microsoft advertising budgets, and the second one doesn’t make much sense at all unless you’ve noticed the downplaying of Vista in recent Microsoft ads. Both bash Vista without saying anything positive about the Mac, and they bash it for its promotion as much as for the product that’s being promoted.

Then again, Microsoft’s ads are also kind of insider baseball, since one large component of them is indignation over Apple’s portrayal of PC users in its commercials. The Microsoft ads seem designed to neutralize the Apple ads by suggesting that Macs are soulless except for their snobbery, and PCs are for everyone. But it’s hard to imagine Microsoft responding directly or even indirectly to Apple ads that just slam Windows in the way these new ones do.

(Speaking of which, just how is Microsoft spending its $300 million? I see Windows billboards here in the Bay Area, but I don’t know of any new TV spots since the “I’m a PC” ones.)

Me, I’d like to see ads from both Apple and Microsoft that point out ways in which their products make consumers happier and more productive, not ones which snipe at each others’ marketing campaigns. And oh yeah: Yes, it is funny to see Apple mock another technology company for spending vast amounts of money on advertising…

 
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40 Comments For This Post

  1. ediedi Says:

    The Get a Mac line of ads are quite funny, but i also think the latest two have lost the point a bit. Also, the Microsoft recent ads (the Seinfeld ones) are pretty funny, but a bit pointless nevertheless.

    The thing is, Vista really has a very bad image, but (with my experience with it) can be configured to be quite usable, and i think in the end it’s pretty good, once you get rid of all the Cancel of Allow bullshit, much better looking and more efficient than XP ever was. I have it on my folks’ computer (i myself use a macbook) and has been reliable and stable ever since i got them the computer (it came preinstalled, on a brand-name PC).
    So i think the ‘Vista sucks’ ads fall a bit short on content in actuality.

  2. zato Says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    These are both very funny. What’s the matter Harry? Your boss Ballmer doesn’t like them??
    Ballmer is a propagandist. Reaping what he sows. What goes around, comes around, and all that. I think Apple will get even nastier. HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!

  3. zato Says:

    The first one is a masterpiece. It describes Microsoft perfectly. It seems no one writes code at MS any more. Ninety thousand employees, all working on black propaganda.

  4. Marcel Schmitz Says:

    So funny. You’ve got so distracted by those ads that you wrote “Micorosft”. :-).

  5. Mike Abundo Says:

    Attacking someone else’s ad budget by producing a new ad of your own. Oh, the hypocrisy.

  6. Kevin Says:

    Who cares what Microsoft spends on advertising or how much Apple spends either for that matter. I’m sure Microsoft has spent shitloads on Vista and Win 7 – read ‘much more than that advertising budget’.

    Vista is old news and I think its immature of Apple to keep up this style of negative advertising. It looks like it’s marketing people don’t know when “a nuff is a nuff”.

  7. Nathan Says:

    A Win for MS. Simple fact it got Apple to respond so quickly with adverts which are such a reflection of their corporate strategy is both comical and Lame.

    Hope to see this kind of event happen more often. Nice to see MS actually defending its product and seeing trip over its feet trying to respond.

  8. WWB Says:

    Apple already spent years explaining why OS X was better — remember the “Switch” ads? They’ve already persuaded people of the fact. If you want to see Apple spots showing the value of a product, see every iPhone/iPod touch commercial ever made.

  9. Randall Howard Says:

    So true, but when you think about it, it’s also quite sad that MSFT seems to have forgotten their roots.At the end of the day, people are looking for great products that work and not more advertising.

  10. Brad Says:

    Microsoft’s campaign has achieved EXACTLY what it was supposed to: they’ve taken the fangs and claws out of Apple’s ad campaign. The two new Apple ads come across as sour grapes, and a little bit desperate to hold onto their former glory.

    Come on, Apple, you can do better than that. The old campaign has been trumped. Admit it, and move on.

  11. Russ Barrett Says:

    Bottom line, MS has a unique strategy in that they let #2 mac, by wide margin, do all the innovation in product design, operating system, software integration, and marketing and then they do a mediocre job of imitating. Mac is like MS’ focus group. Zune, Vista, Office, and now they have to retort with advertising. The mac ads are getting tired like the energizer bunny. Once MS copies anything, you know it is time to move on and innovate again.

  12. Rob Blatt Says:

    Apple could not continue their advertising campaigns until they responded to the use of someone who looks like John Hodgman in a Microsoft campaign. If they resumed with their campaigns as usual, people would immediately think of the Microsoft ads. This way, people think about the Microsoft ads and the commercial brings them back to Apple. Once this has aired, we’ll see Apple going back to their usual company line of commercials.

  13. theqwerty Says:

    Apple is so funny and stylish, we have to give them that.

    Shame they can’t produce same value for dollar we can get from windows. I don’t use Vista, happy with my XP. Don’t get me wrong, I wish we would have 50/50 competition between two, this way both OSs would cost less.

  14. Pratik patel Says:

    I’ve seen m$ ads on Hulu and MSNBC online. Guess that’s how they’re spending their $300 billion. And, I thought the whole “windows without walls” thing was a joke until I saw it as one of the sponsors online.

  15. jimmyhat Says:

    Nathan is a tool

  16. Noah Says:

    I kinda agree with @Brad here — these ads felt totally unnecessary, and quite honestly, a bit hypocritical considering what crap the iPhone OS has been once you get past the ooooh-it’s-so-shiny layer of the device.

  17. Paul Greatbatch Says:

    Microsoft was the one that responded to the Apple ads with their “I’m a PC” campaign and touted their $300 million-plus budget doing so.

    When John and Justin appear on the screen, you know immediately that it’s an Apple ad. You don’t need to have product discussion. You immediately make the connection. Even if you fast forward thru it after seeing it a couple of times.

    The simplicity of the campaign runs rings around Microsoft’s attempts at a response. From day one, the Apple campaign has centered around pointing out what users experience with Windows and what tech critics wrote about Vista.

  18. Joe Says:

    Jimmyhat is correct, Nathan is a tool. I thought the MS ads were a cheap rip-off, and the fact that a bunch of delusional people consider themselves to be a “PC” never impressed me. I don’t run around pretending and yelling “I’m a Mac”. I am a Mac user, because I’ve looked and worked on both systems and made my choice. The average person doesn’t evaluate both platforms and pick the one they like best. Most people I know who are a “PC” are users of windows by default. Either their company mandates PCs or they bought one just based on their budget (or they are gamers). MS ads claim that lots of people use PCs, but they they never tell you why. Every one of apple’s ads tells you why the Mac OS is better then MS. Go back and look at all the ads they always mention features. OK, all but these last two, which are just a response to MS ads.

  19. baaker Says:

    Hilariously, MSFT’s behaviour is no longer a subtext in Apple’s ads–it’s now just another product misfeature. “Bean Counter”‘s Mac Guy even offers a sweep of his arm at the end to suggest a better investment path (all the while standing on a higher plane than his rival’s desk). Priceless.

  20. offbeatmammal Says:

    with the previous Mac ads I’ve always thought they were pretty clever (even if sometimes the logic was a little flawed or they were simply exaggerating).
    I wasn’t a huge fan of the Seinfeld ads (I’m not a huge fan of his)
    I like the “I’m a PC” ads. They’re not offensive, they don’t try to elevate the product by denigrating the competition and they address the point.
    These latest ads have really soured any warmth I might have felt to Apple as an underdog – they’re sounding bitter and desperate.
    Oh, and if OSX and the iPhone are so good why do Apple have to spend so much on advertising in the first place?

    I have a Macbook Pro (which has the stylish beachball of death – I’ve yet to see a BSoD on my 2yo laptop running Vista, is slow and sluggish and is on it’s third or fourth battery) but 99 days out of 100 I’m happpy to be a PC

  21. offbeatmammal Says:

    (just to clarify… the MacbookPro is slow and sluggish and on it’s fourth (just checked) batter compared to the Vista laptop (which admittedly needs a new battery)

  22. freecheese Says:

    Hope to see “Hello I am Google” as well.

  23. Bizimunda Says:

    Great ads lol
    http://www.bizimunda.net

  24. Aibal Says:

    The Apple ad isn’t attacking MS’s ad budget. They are saying that MS is using advertisement to cover up their lack of success with Vista, because of underlining faults in the OS.

    Watch the frackin’ ad!!

  25. william Says:

    Both are just great!
    Apple shouldn’t release them on TV, just virally on the internet.
    It would make the punch even bigger! Touche.

  26. Felix Katt Says:

    Give it up, Apple. Microsoft essentially killed your “I’m a PC” ad campaign. Think of something new. These Apple follow-ups are hollow, hypocritical (given that Apple spends a ton of its own bread on advertising), and fundamentally false. But, whatever, Mac zealots live in a reality distortion field, anyway, so reality has nothing to do with anything.

  27. Keatonimo Says:

    Interesting post, I really try to pay as little attention to commericalas as possible, but I did notice one microsoft commerical with different people saying “I’m a PC, and I…….” you understand the idea.

  28. gfish Says:

    For Microsoft, a few hundred million in advertising is a drop in the bucket. It’s not like MSFT is in the poor house and trying to invest very meager resources all into advertising. The Apple ad in this sense makes it seem like just more taunting.

  29. DF Says:

    There is one more funny picture about MS: “Life without walls” vs “Apple: Life without Windows” LOL:

    http://designfail.org/2008/10/20/microsoft-no-walls-just-windows/

  30. emmortal Says:

    It’s great to see that Apple sounds just like a politician. Talk about your competition during your advertisements. Correct me if i’m wrong but I don’t know any other company to stoop to this level.

    Oh and to everyone saying oh their ads don’t mention Vista you forgot that a huge percentage of the company works on something other than Vista. Did you forget future OSes, Xbox, windows mobile etc etc… the new ads are to promote Microsoft in general not just one portion of their revenue. People are free to have their own opinions just stop being so immature about it.

  31. Herk427 Says:

    From the AD perspective this is a win for M$.
    The new M$ “I’m a PC” ads could have existed without the “cool” mac ads as a ramp up to windows 7. The M$ ad’s are about the brand not about a product. These new mac ad’s vaildate the M$ ad’s were the M$ ad’s did not acknowlege the mac campaign.

  32. Marc Says:

    All these adverts say it “I’m a mac, and I’m a smug git that everyone hates”. I used to use a Mac, I thought I was “cool” for about a year, but then reality dawned. Java / Safari updates required an entire new OS upgrade, most web cams required expensive 3rd party drivers, OSX was slow as heck, hardly any games, office versions were slow and lagged behind in features, Apple Works was a good as Wordpad on Windows.
    Mac users may laugh at Vista, but try using OSX version 1 – 10.2 – barely usable. 10.3 just about fixed it, and then they changed their CPU architecture. Until Expose, there was no way to see what windows are open, as that useless dock just shows running applications (or are they running? Spot the mini triangle, thank god they magnify!). I always had to enable a hack on the dock that would shade out hidden applications, have they enabled that by default yet?
    Anyway.
    I did the sensible thing and bought a new PC. Now i can run all the software I need, reliably. I didn’t pay 50% extra for the hardware, I don’t need to upgrade my OS to get Java updates (or wait 2 years as seems to be the case these days). Oh and vista looks nice too :)

  33. Necronic Says:

    I really think that apple is screwing up here. Microsoft is going to walk away looking like the bigger man in this. They haven’t done any attack ads, just defensive ones, and Apples attack ads are just getting more directed. To anyone that actually follows tech stuff, also, attacking Vista anymore is stupid, they fixed all of the issues with SP1, which was way too long in the making, but it is fixed.

    Just think that Apple is missing the boat with their. In a way its like seeing Bang & Olufsen making attack ads about the new speakers at Target. What they need to be doing is seperating themselves from Microsoft, making it seem like its not competition, its only a matter of what you are willing to pay. Like, Lexus doesn’t really compete with Kia.

  34. Kooky Liberals Says:

    I’m personally getting sick of Apple’s snobby, superior condescending attitude. Reminds me so much of Obama and brainwashed Obama supporters.

    Apple is good, but it is far from being as awesome as they claim to be. Windows sucks, too… but I’m starting to root for Microsoft these days.

    Apple is a cult with an obsessed control freak at the helm.

    Obama + Communism = Obamunism

  35. Better OSS Says:

    Bring your old outdated computer back to live. Leave MAC and Windows in the dust.

    Price? Free

    OS? Linux

  36. Brochure Templates | PrintPlace Says:

    I agree with Necronic. Microsoft is just defending itself (finally). It makes Apple look like a bully. I wish they would do something different – I like Macs but mainly b/c they’re prettier than PCs. I’d rather work on a PC any day. You would think as innovative as Apple is with their technology that they would come up with some new commercials that talk about the Mac, instead of talking about the PC.

  37. Tim J. Says:

    Apple is keeping Microsoft on its toes by saying two things. Shame on Microsoft for putting out such a rank operating system. Shame on PC users for excepting such mediocrity in their flagship company. As a dual platform user, I know best for myself. If you just do simple spreadsheets, email, and word documents, stick to PC. For media rich graphics, video and multimedia presentations go for Apple just like the ad people who put together Microsoft’s ad campaign. All those videos and billboard graphics were done by Macs. Nuff said.

  38. Mens Streetwear @ Osaka Nines Says:

    You know, months later, it’s funny to look back at this ad and also MS’s marketing attempts to silence the attacks and sell Vista. The way I see it, Apple is still very strong and MS has given up trying to push Vista down our throats. All the buzz is about Windows 7, and I have no doubt that it will fix a lot of problems that Vista had. The question is how much permanent damage did Vista do to the PC?

    I have never heard of an Apple user going back to the PC. At least, not since Intel CPU’s have been used in Apple machines.

  39. mm Says:

    Apple ads=funny
    Seinfeld ads=a joke

    see the difference?

  40. paul Says:

    Have u seen the latest mac Ad which is really senseless.
    http://www.bablotech.com/2009/05/16/apple-failed-to-bash-pcs-in-it-senseless-new-mac-ad/

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