By Harry McCracken | Thursday, July 16, 2009 at 8:23 am
As Ars Technica is reporting, Microsoft COO Kevin Turner is saying that that Apple has asked Microsoft to pull its Laptop Hunters ads that show consumers turning up their noses at Macs as being overpriced and underequipped:
And so we’ve been running these PC value ads. Just giving people saying, hey, what are you looking to spend? “Oh, I’m looking to spend less than $1,000.” Well we’ll give you $1,000. Go in and look and see what you can buy. And they come out and they just show them. Those are completely unscripted commercials.
And you know why I know they’re working? Because two weeks ago we got a call from the Apple legal department saying, hey — this is a true story — saying, “Hey, you need to stop running those ads, we lowered our prices.” They took like $100 off or something. It was the greatest single phone call in the history that I’ve ever taken in business. (Applause.)
I did cartwheels down the hallway. At first I said, “Is this a joke? Who are you?” Not understanding what an opportunity. And so we’re just going to keep running them and running them and running them.
1) If Apple’s complaint was that some of the specific pricing facts quoted in the commercial are no longer correct–like the statement in this one that the best Mac laptop under $2000 has 2GB of RAM–what exactly is that reason for cartwheels? Seems like a reasonable point to me. Seems like something Microsoft might do in a similar situation. Like if Mozilla ran ads saying that Internet Explorer didn’t have tabs, for instance.
2) Microsoft keeps saying that the ads are unscripted. I believe it. But they weren’t unedited, of course. And it’s worth noting that when folks noticed that Lauren, the first Laptop Hunter, mistakenly called the Apple Store “the Mac Store,” the company’s re-edited, 30-second version of what was originally a 60-second ad changed her “unscripted” comments to have her calling it the Apple Store. Here are the original ad and the fixed version:
I’m not sure whether the correction to Lauren’s “Mac Store” reference was made in the interest of accuracy…or whether it was because some people thought it made her look like a ditz. Maybe it was a little bit of both.
Microsoft also tinkered slightly with Lauren’s comments about Macs later in the ad, apparently to compress them for the shorter ad. I’m assuming that the rewording was accomplished through piecing together of existing audio rather than by having her record new material. ‘But I do sort of wonder if they finessed anything else in the ads to serve their purposes.
The folks in the ads may be real, but cinema vérité these commercials aren’t….