Microsoft's advertising over the past year has been nothing if not inconsistent. First we had the confusing Gates + Seinfeld ads--all two of them. Then Microsoft switched gears with its I'm a PC ads, which seemed to send the message that yes, owning a PC can be cool.
But with this latest ad, I'm confused. While the meat of the ad focuses on how Windows PCs come in more shapes and sizes than Macs do and can be had at lower prices, Lauren, the woman portrayed in the ad, quips at one point, "I'm just not cool enough to be a Mac person."
So, Microsoft, if this is the message you're pushing--that your prospective customers "aren't cool enough" to own a Mac, what does this make your users? Losers?
I understand the desire to connect to the "everyman"--the typical consumer, but I'm not sure if this is the right way to go about it. The "not cool enough" comment in the ad is more than likely a joke, of course, but I'm not the only one who thought it was a weird thing to say in the ad; tech blogger John Gruber found it strange as well. He notes, "the bottom line is that Microsoft is explicitly reinforcing the idea that Macs are cool," and calls it "a very odd tactic".
I understand that there is a perception that Mac users can be elitist (mind you, I'm writing this post on a MacBook), so I know what it is Microsoft wants to say in the ad--that Windows is for everyone. But if that's the underlying message, why not come out and say it? Now that would be a strong approach to advertising Windows: Windows is for everyone. It has something for everyone. There's a Windows PC for everyone at any price point.
These are Windows' strengths, and Microsoft should be playing to them, rather than trying to incite a class war of sorts between Mac and PC users (not that there wasn't one already) and making snide comments about computing coolness in the process.