Mac vs Windows: Yet another Parallel Divergence 13 October, 2006Posted by paralleldivergence in apple, Brad & Phil, mac vs windows, windows.
We’ve all seen the ads. “Hello, I’m a Mac”, “And I’m a PC”. If not, go here. I can’t think of any other TV advertising campaign that has a running series spanning fifteen different ads over such a short period of time. Sure, we did have the old Pepsi vs Coke Taste Test ads – the ‘Pepsi Challenge’, and this very clever one, but they don’t go anywhere near highlighting so many differences between two directly competing products as the Apple campaign does.
One thing the Mac vs PC and Pepsi vs Coke ads have in common is that in both cases, it’s the underdog taking up the challenge to their respective runaway market leader. In the case of Apple, worldwide we have the less than 4% market share company against the 94% share held by Microsoft. The other 2% are held by the various flavours of Linux. These updated daily figures come from the respected W3Counter site and are based on, at last count, 4.3 million distinct visits to 2900 websites by computers across the globe. It’s probably as transparent and accurate as anyone can get.
So, are the Apple ads working? It really depends on who they are targeting and I’m yet to figure that one out as well as determining the real aim of the ads. Are they aiming to increase sales? I keep hearing about Intel Macs “flying” out the door of Apple Centres, but the W3Counter figures are yet to show any visible sign of a spike despite the ads being around for several months. If the aim is to annoy Windows users, I believe they certainly are doing that. Which of the two guys in the ad would you categorise as the “bully” and which as the “nerd” in the schoolyard? If the aim is to educate people about the real benefits of a Mac, the personification of computers has probably missed the mark. Talking about iLife ’06 pales compared to demonstrating it. Finally, if the aim was to entertain and make people laugh, well done Apple, it works! But it’s expensive comedy.
As for me, yes, I bought a 20″ Intel iMac this year and I think it’s great, but I still use XP more. I didn’t get my Mac because of the ads, I got it because of Final Cut Pro Studio. I needed a Mac because I needed the software that only comes on that computer. Just like some people need a PC because the database or the CRM or accounting system or more importantly for some, the games they use are only developed for Windows. Remember, it’s not Microsoft that’s “selling” Windows to the userbase, it’s the users buying it because of a legacy need. Seriously, the best thing Apple did for the iPod was bring out iTunes for Windows.
And speaking of the iPod, if Pepsi’s and Apple’s strategy of directly targeting the market leader in advertising campaigns is on the money, then I can’t wait to see the Microsoft Zune vs Apple iPod ads real soon. Something tells me Microsoft will botch it up though…
As for Brad & Phil, they’re just two of the large percentage of TV viewers that have no clue about computers whatsoever. What do you think of the ads?
UPDATE (Jan 17 2007): There are now eighteen different “Get a Mac” ads! No change to the market share though…