With the fears of recession and overall scrimping on unnecessary expenses, Microsoft shows some marketing savvy by positioning it as the better and cheaper alternative to Apple’s Macintosh.
Microsoft recently released a new ad featuring Lauren, a bespectacled redhead. In the commercial, a voice-over tells her to go hunt for a laptop that would suit her needs, and if she does, Microsoft would buy it for her. Lauren then goes into an Apple store, but quickly goes back out and dejectedly reports that the store did not have her preferred laptop: one that has a comfortable keyboard, a 17 inch screen and fast performance. The only thing she could afford from the Apple store is a 13 inch Macbook.
Here is the video:
Video: Laptop Hunters $1000 – Lauren Gets an HP Pavilion
The commercial certainly packs a punch, and, while it does not feature Jerry Seinfeld, leaves a very poignant mark on the viewers’ minds. For me, it is very similar to those Burger King print ads featuring a very obvious Ronald McDonald trying to disguise himself within an overcoat while ordering at a Burger King counter.
And if you think that Microsoft is being offensive, you are right. But it was actually Apple who slung mud first, coming out with ads that portrayed PC users are virus laden, sick and backward. Which is why, Lauren declares that she’s not cool enough to be a Mac person, when she finds her ideal laptop for below $1,000.
Great positioning by Microsoft. With this ad, Microsoft has hit two birds with one stone. They have skillfully attacked Apple where it hurts because one of Apple’s weakest points has always been the price of their products. And they were able to appear sympathetic to the public who continues to plummet into financial uncertainty with each passing day.
I remember that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer also aired roughly the same opinion as his company’s ad, insinuating that Apple users pay an additional $500 for the Apple logo.
I think, however, that it is not entirely true. Apple is more expensive because, admit it, the company has spent more than Microsoft did in research and development, not just software. Apple has a very strong appeal to businesspeople, professionals and your garden variety geek techies for a reason: Apple’s products are intuitive, secure and less of a headache to own and operate. And different forums and tech news sites have pointed out the same. Sure, PCs might be 50% less expensive than Apple, but that’s just the price of the hardware.
What’s more, by directly targeting Apple, Microsoft gave it precious airtime — for FREE. And the snowball effect is that, more and more avid and rabid Apple fans are defending their beloved products on Internet forums and are masterfully dissecting and destroying Microsoft’s credibility and strategy.