This was the only commercial that my wife and I actually watched as we sped thru the Oscars on DVR. But I was very disappointed. Apple advertising usually hits it out of the park, but in my opinion this had no impact. It didn’t spend time really communicating any of the capabilities of the device. It all went too fast. Apple hopefully will create a number of different spots promoting specific capabilities that they believe will drive consumer adoption. Personally, I still plan on buying one, but if I was on the fence, I don’t think that this ad would have pushed me over.
The only thing Apple has going for it is that their advertising is still miles better than Microsoft’s advertising and Google hasn’t bothered at this point. I must say that I’m appalled at the Microsoft Windows 7 ads. I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while, so as it kind of fits here, let’s go. The Windows 7 ads fails along several dimensions:
- It tries to be a little hip and isn’t. It’s actually that uncomfortable in-between, just a shade better than Bill Gates wiggling his butt, which may be the all time worst moment in advertising history — or at least Bill Gates’ career. The whole “I’m a PC”-thing doesn’t have the warm and fuzzies of a Mac campaign if for no other reason (beyond the abject awkwardness of the spots themselves) that “PC” is not a cuddly term the way that “Mac” is. The “PC” as a brand of sorts represents nearly every over-structured, unfeeling, bland attribute that one ascribes to the factory-like businesses (to borrow a concept from Seth Godin’s Linchpin) that most people work for, and the very same attributes which most people dislike about their jobs. They may have well featured the uber-boring “Knit Knots” from Disney’s kid-show the Imagination Movers (see pic) in the ads.
- It portrays mighty Microsoft as clueless about how software should behave, giving consumers credit for every good idea that made it to the gold code. I understand that they’re trying to create a connection to consumers, show that they were listening to what didn’t work in Vista and other prior iterations of the Windows OS. I just wonder whether a ‘mea culpa‘ ad that said “We listened, and here is your new operating system that we think you’re gonna love” would have worked better and felt more authentic. But perhaps Microsoft’s general inability to admit mistakes is what truly makes this campaign authentic.
- Lastly, so many of the features that are highlighted are so basic (paraphrasing: ‘I wish it would start up fast and just work’) and seem to echo the benefits of Mac OSX that it could have had a slightly different, yet crushing ending with each of the people featured saying “It’s a Mac”, rather than “I’m a PC”. Anytime an ad sets up that way, it portrays a fatal flaw, at least in my opinion.