It’s no secret that Apple and Microsoft are going at it in an ad battle that would make the Spartans from the movie ’300′ cower in fear (although they probably wouldn’t cower because of the content of the ads, they would probably freak out about the fact that there are moving pictures in a time when yellow paint was considered the wave of the future and long boring speeches by old philosophers who may or may not have gotten high on bay leaves were considered entertainment). Some love the often humorous, always cunning ad-fest in the same way as they love watching famous Star Wars fight scenes. Others find the ads much more similar to two five-year-olds poking each other with light sabers while screaming loudly for their respective mothers. Of course, you’re not here to learn what others think, you’re here to be told what I think, and then meticulously counter every sentence I write with at least 5 different points on why I’m wrong (I love you guys). Enjoy!
Undoubtably the most well known ads in this whole kerfuffle are Apple’s infamous ‘Get a Mac’ ads. Scientists have researched a variety of dolphin and found that even they recognize Justin Long and John Hodgeman’s snarky PC-bash-a-thon. Update: Turns out that was just a dream I had. Point is, they’ve very well known, and overall, quite well liked. They’re hilarious, who even cares if they make a point, the Mac that shows up at the end of the ad could be having a kernel panic and they would still be effective ads. They’re a running joke, people know and identify with the Mac and/or the PC, it gets people’s mindshare. Of course, even I will admit that after nearly four years on air/cable/series-of-tubes, the ads are getting a little old, and may need to go the way of the space shuttle and be retired to make way for something newer. Point is, on the contender scale in this war, Apple is approaching Chuck Norris levels of butt kicking with their ad department (who is also mostly responsible for getting the iPod the market share it has today).
Now, let’s look to the other corner of our metaphorical boxing ring/war zone, what does the big M up in Redmond have to say for themselves? (And I’m not talking about the McDonalds either.) Well, this paragraph is gonna be much longer since, unlike Apple, Microsoft seems to have a case of ADD, unable to stay on one ad campaign for more than a month or so. They started with the Seinfeld/Gates ads which, let’s face it, made no sense, and didn’t exactly help their reputation for being hip among people like me who were five when Seinfeld was canceled. Apparently they figured that out early on, so they moved on to their “I’m a PC” ads. I’m still not entirely sure what the point of those ads were, I think it was to make people subconsciously think of Apple as that big bully who picked on the little people, or something like that. They did seem to succeed in making Apple stop advertising for awhile, but the “I’m a PC” ads weren’t exactly life-changing, people didn’t really remember them after they went off the air, and now Apple is right back in the fight.
So, once again failing to give the knockout punch, Microsoft slowed down their massive ad-machine for awhile, occasionally putting up some videos of cute little kids doing cute little things on Windows while they plotted their evil revenge behind closed doors. (HAH, that’s juxtaposition for you, my English teacher would be proud.) Finally, it came time for the terror of Microsoft to be unleashed in the form of Lauren. Yes, Lauren, the long-haired redhead who can apparently tell the prices of every object in a store just by pretending to have been inside. Anyway, that was a strong ad, it got an important point out, though again, it’s not particularly memorable. The stupid thing was to do it again, and again, and again, with Giampaolo, Lisa, Jackson, Sheila the ‘video editor’ who doesn’t really seem to know what she’s doing (for one thing, if you’re a serious filmmaker, why would you get a laptop instead of a desktop for cutting video?), and so on and so forth. Seriously, I don’t mean to spoil anything for you, but they choose a PC every time. I think it’s the best campaign they’ve had yet, what it lacks in creativity is made up for in the strength of its economically conscious message. It makes Microsoft’s current ads have a Jack Bauer amount of butt-kick-itude.
Of course, as everybody in the whole world obviously knows, Chuck Norris could kill Jack Bauer in 14 different ways just by looking at him, so this story got me all confused. Microsoft claims that their ads are getting people back onto the dark side, a side without walls, just Windows (which of course means that everybody is stuck in a small glass cage). I guess in these troubled economic times (Drink!) people are feeling their wallet-anorexia more than their hatred of crashing and viruses, or, in my metaphorical war, Jack Bauer brought a tank fueled by the tears of former bankers that shoots bomb shells made of federal bailouts. What this ad war makes clear is that what it comes down to is simply a matter of value. PCs are generally like a small sedan car, they do the job they were intended to do on the cheap. Macs are a bit more like a sports car, they’re are a lot more fun, a lot faster, a lot sexier, but they cost a whole lot more money. If you just need a car/computer to be a car/computer (respectively, unless Transformers 2 is a movie about cars transforming into iMacs or vice versa), you’ll probably be fine with a PC. If you gotta pick up some ladies/do some serious video editing, go with a Mac. There, problem solved. Now, can we all stop this flame war, think of how stupid it would be if Ferrari owners and Civic owners dedicated their lives to calling the other ‘gay’ for hours at a time. Let’s leave the war off to the ad companies, who will hopefully make it endlessly entertaining.