There are currently two campaigns underway which attempt to level the massive disparity in desirability between Microsoft and Apple. One is public, branded, and not very good. The other is almost exactly the opposite.
I can’t stand Microsoft’s “I’m A PC” stuff. The pre-Windows 7 brand ads, which featured tattooists, schoolkids and normal looking people claiming to be a PC was apologetic, fake, uncool, indulgent, self-centred, and just about everything that Apple, at their best, are not. Watching it as a user of both Apples and PCs, I couldn’t help but wonder why on earth they were trying to take on Apple at their own game (i.e. being the cool computer manufacturer)? It looked like they’d spent money on repairing executive pride, rather than addressing a real problem at a grassroots level – either among employees or users.
(Proof that it’s about pride, by the way:
After all, just look at the energy with which Microsoft employees blog. Or the sheer number of people that use MSN messenger to keep in touch with friends. All of which would have made a better basis for an ad campaign than pretending you’re the computer of choice for LA fashionistas. When, clearly, you are not.
But if Microsoft really wanted to have a go at Apple, here’s what I humbly suggest they should have done.
They should have stuck to what they’re good at in their “official” comms.
Then they should have found all those clips and comments and other things about the Apple backlash.
(They do exist.)
Then they should have reflected, repeated, and spread them.
Someone, possibly Peter Mandelson, was apparently challenged on why he didn’t have a singular, central idea for the Labour Party campaign effort once. He replied that he didn’t want one – he wanted lots. He wanted to light lots of fires, and see which ones took hold.
There are loads of reasons people might hate Apple. They’re closed. They’re not good when things go wrong. They’re used by pretentious idiots who have more money than sense. All of which people already say online, and all of which Microsoft should be seeking to spread as far and as wide as possible.
That’s got to be a better bet than trying to pretend they’re rebels too.