Here’s to the crazy Microsoft ads

Finally, Microsoft responds to the cute, but often mean-spirited Apple ads that imply anyone using a PC is a dork — not a geek, but a dork. The ad embedded below is one of three executions of the new ads (these ads are actually about something, not the ones about nothing that had Jerry Seinfeld in them), all variations on the theme that PC people do lots of cool and interesting stuff.

(Also below is a video screen grab I recorded of an ad that appeared on the front page of NYTimes.com yesterday. As typical, the online ad is technically brilliant and an incredible use of the medium. I can’t believe the NY Times allows it, but that’s not what this post is about.)

Here’s my instant review of the Microsoft ad: I wonder why it took Microsoft this long to respond to Apple? I’m sure there’s been a raging debate regarding whether or not responding would “validate” the implications contained in Apple spots. Look at most of the blog coverage and you’ll see what I mean — every post will comment on them in comparison to the Apple spots.

I think the hardcore technology blogosphere will love the ads. That’s because there’s a nuanced and subtle love-hate thing many technology bloggers have with Apple. We (and in this case, I’ll include myself) use Apple products because of their elegant design. But we have come to believe that Apple, the company, lives on another planet — or, at least behind some sort of iron curtain.

Another reason I think these ads work: While I think the Apple ads are effective in pounding in one message (Macs are more dependable than PCs), I don’t believe they’ve been effective at convincing people that users of PCs are losers. Why? Because, at the end of the day, we all love John Hodgman, the “I’m a PC guy,” way more than the straight-man hipster dude who plays “I’m a Mac.”

So, bottomline for me. Kudos to Microsoft. Apple has been offering you this chance on a silver platter for years.

Bonus link: Design blog CounterNotions stayed up late last night to write a long review comparing the Microsoft spots to a campaign Apple did several years ago called, “Here’s to Crazy Ones.”


I’m a PC and I’ve been made into a stereotype, version 1




I’m a Mac, I’m a PC ad appearing on the front of NYTimes.com, September 19, 2008

  • I agree. I like them. It’s about time for them to actually try to control their own image.

    Strange it’s taken them so long to respond to this. Oh wait, no it’s not. They’re Microsoft – a monolithic giant of computing inefficiency and user interface boondoggles. Actually, what I meant to say was “I am a PC.”

  • Joel Fagin

    “PCs are losers”? You just made a similar mistake to Microsoft. The Apple adverts aren’t talking about computer users – you never *ever* insult people for making the wrong choice in advertising. That’s just going to make people think you’re a prat. The Apple adverts are about the *computers*. Microsoft’s ads have run with a misconception that “PC” apparently refers to the person using the computer.

  • I’m sorry Joel. I didn’t get your memo before watching the Apple ads. I’m sure everyone picked up on the nuanced humor of the Apple ads to the degree that you have. I get it, okay. The Apple ads are a metaphor. The Microsoft ads don’t comply with that Mac-tard reality zone. PC people are literal. When their computer is portrayed as metaphorical dork, they process it differently. And, yes, despite my love and use of Apple products, I often think the company is a prat.

  • Ming Li

    Whoever has been using PCs can testify to the frustrations of the experience. Some people may even take pleasure in the frustrations, but some people do not. The reason that the Apple ads resonate with people is that it is true, though in an exaggerated way.