I’m A Mac. I’m A PC. Angeline | September 23rd, 2008

Well-known UK graffiti artist Banksy once said, “The thing I hate the most about advertising is that it attracts all the bright, creative and ambitious young people.” It’s true that the advertising industry consists of many talented writers, designers, and other creative types, and the outcome can be quite remarkable.

For the computer giants, the game is on. After releasing a series of somewhat confusing commercials portraying Microsoft founder Bill Gates and comedian Jerry Seinfeld in an Odd Couple-esque situation, Microsoft has launched a new campaign revolving around the phrases “I’m A PC” and “Windows vs. Walls.”

This campaign is the first major creative push from Microsoft in a while, playing off of Apple’s successful 2 year long “Get A Mac” campaign. The first ad, featured below in this post, includes everyday people coupled with celebrities such as actress Eva Longoria, her NBA playing husband Tony Parker, and Pharrell Williams of the Neptunes / N.E.R.D.

Both Microsoft and Apple have sought help from two of the world’s most successful creative advertising agencies. Microsoft recruited Crispin Porter + Bogusky, best known for their MINI, Volkswagen, and Burger King campaigns, to launch their $300 million dollar advertising effort while TBWA \ Chiat \ Day, who also handles advertising for McDonald’s, adidas, and Absolut, is in charge of Apple’s “Get A Mac” ads.

Microsoft has taken a huge social media / viral initiative by creating a web site where Windows users can upload a video stating what kind of PC they are. The Microsoft ad is compelling in the sense that it is broad sweeping, addressing people in a way that says, “Hey you! Windows user! You’re one out of many, and you are not stupid! You are a person, just like all of us. Don’t let Apple make you think you are a stereotype.”

However, if this is indeed a reactionary campaign from Microsoft, the issue is that Apple’s commercials attack the core problems with Windows Vista rather than mocking its users. They want users to switch to their product by highlighting the flaws of Windows Vista personified in a human. Apple’s Mac commercials offer reasons why having a Mac would be better than having a Windows PC, listing reasons in a lighthearted manner.

Although Windows retains a huge portion of the operating system market share, it will be interesting to see whether these ads can enhance brand loyalty or perception.

At the end of the day, a computer is a computer. Whether you run Vista or OSX, you are going to have issues. From a creative standpoint, the brilliance and the inspiration lies behind the creative teams that develop each company’s strategies through its key messages, along with its design and advertising efforts.

Check out the latest video ad spots from both Microsoft and Apple here:


Microsoft’s “I’m A PC” Campaign


Apple’s “Get A Mac” Campaign

As creatives, what do you think of these ads? How do they appeal to the mass consumer looking to purchase a computer?

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  • ZQuared

    Hummm, I gotta say that I started playing with computers (let’s call them behemots <- 1988) a long time ago! I never stopped and I love technology a bit too much I’d say… always trying the latest beta I can get my hands on. Trying the new phones (I was the first guy in montreal to have a cell phone take a picture… imagine that for 800$ <- *lol* at my self :P) but I settled with my blackberry curve for now.

    So this brings me to MAC vs PC. I used macs in primary school and in secondary school (which would be… before being senior… I don’t know much about how the school terms work in the US, my bad :S) But yeah, and I ran a PC at home, starting with the famous P33! (or was it 486… can’t remember) What a machine, for the modest sum of $3k!

    Anyways, enough about the auto-bio. I gotta say MAC, they look nice, sleek, white and everything, but I did the everyday stuff on a PC… so am a PC user. Sometimes I wish I was a MAC user to have all those shiny white things in my room. I think there is only so much misconception about both, the MAC and the PC, on both sides, that nobody is really making a move.

    I heard MAC was more for design (a lot of people could infirm/confirm this here) because… it’s faster with it’s graphic engine or something, I am not even sure. I am wondering, if you compare a PC and a MAC of equal force side by side, what would you get out of it?

    I mean, let’s say the new MAC running on Pentium “x” and a PC with Pentium “x”. Same amount of memory. As identical as possible graphic cards (same made, memory, etc), HD, etc etc etc… how would they compare.

    There most likely is a website out there just doing that kind of stuff, but if I am too lazy to look for a creatives name in the search text field above that I ask to implement a link to our profile when we are commenting on this blog, don’t ask me to look for that website! *lol*

    So, to resume this, I AM PC! (I guess)

  • fredK

    I hope no-one buys their next computer based on either company’s ad. Seriously. You have to try them to know the differences, what they’re good at and what they’re bad at. I love the Mac myself, but that’s because I’ve used Windows PC’s. What the next person loves to use is entirely up to herhim.

    ZSquared? White Macs? That’s in the past. Today’s Macs are sleek aluminium (ha! the frickin’ browser insists that aluminium is a misspelling. Tut, bosh.), glass and, well, black things. And they run on Intel chips. But the main difference between them is in the software, not the hardware. Software and how well it’s integrated with the hardware. And the presence of bloat- and/or malware.

    As for the Mac only being good for design/creative type stuff, that’s an ancient myth. True, most pro’s in advertising, design and creative industries use Macs, but they could probably just as well use Windows boxes if they wanted to. And there’s a plethora of software that allows you to do normal everyday stuff on the Mac, just as easily as on a Windows box (accounting, word processing, spread sheeting, power pointing, 3D modelling, cartoon animating, etc) — consider for example that Microsoft Office has a Mac version and it’s one of the best selling titles for the Mac. Also, given the saturation of iTunes on both the major OS’, now followed by Safari which is “the best browser” (according to me) on any platform, and the success of Apple’s iTunes App Store, there’s reason to believe that there will be very few applications these days that can’t be run on both the Mac and Windows boxes. And, if all else fails, use Bootcamp or Parallels to run Windows, Linux and Mac OS X on one single Mac(hine).

    The only true comparison between a Mac and a Windows PC is how you feel when you use them. Who knows, the correct answer could be a Mac running Vista and Ubuntu/Linux… ;)

  • ZQuared

    Haaa Fred, thank you so much for pointing out the differences between MAC & PC. As seen in my boring auto-bio above *lol* I’ve been pretty havppy with a PC so far. I didn’t know the MAC softwares were integrated better-ly in MACs than in PCs.

    As far as white is concerned, I always loved white… my new car is white :D But I guess the aluminium/glass/black thingies are more stylish… if only I could get an aluminium/glass with black thingies car – I’d get a MAC to run along with it ;)

    But yeah, thanks for clarifying a little bit more about MAC-PC :)

  • ZQuared

    Found an interesting link if anyone else cares about Windows vs MAC : http://www.airtightinteractive.com/news/?p=115

  • fredK

    I still think it’s best to try the model you’re thinking of switching to (be it Mac or Windows/Linux PC) before deciding if you like it or not. It’s like test driving a car before buying it. Would you buy a car without having felt what it drives like, how it behaves? Would you buy an apartment or a house without having visited it and walked through it?

    We can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it, to paraphrase the guy in the movie. Yes, that one. ;)

  • ArtbyAudree

    Hi guys,

    I have ALWAYS used a Mac, and will continue to do so. Here is one reason why – If you get software, and read the install instructions, the Mac instructions say something like
    1. Insert disk.
    2. Click install.
    3. Enjoy.

    The PC instructions having you pressing Shift/Alt, or whatever in a long list of steps. If I was a computer geek, I would maybe be into all that. But, alas, I’m just a simple computer user who wants everything to be easy so I can take care of business and have fun creating stuff.

    Oh, and I do like the commercials. But mostly it’s because they are saying what I have been saying since I had my Mac Classic in 1990 – Mac is just more fun to use.

  • YourDesign

    I grew up using a PC and didn’t want to start using a Mac because it was MORE stuff to learn in a hurry when I started studying design in college. But I was forced to by my prof because the graphics world runs on a Mac.

    I LOVED IT!

    I hate working on PC’s. They’re slower, crash way more often and can’t handle more than one program operating at once (which happens all the time when working in graphics).

    I mean, come on, when’s the last time you only worked in InDesign without having to quick switch to Photoshop or Illustrator to tweak a graphic?

    I love the Mac commercials. Funny because they’re true! Whenever I see a new one I start blabbering about them to my husband about the great points it brings up about the superiority of Mac. By the way he’s a carpenter who hates computers and doesn’t use them unless he HAS to.

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