Mailbag: Meet the New Ad, Slightly Better than the Old Ad; More
Your verdicts are in: The new Microsoft "I'm
a PC" commercials
aren't exactly worse than the Seinfeld ones...but
that's not saying a whole lot:
I too have seen the "I'm a PC" commercial (at least the first
one). I don't know if it's defensive or not, but it's not persuasive. For
one thing, even though I use a PC, I am NOT a PC. Nor am I "PC,"
although that's a whole other discussion. For another, "PC" is a
generic enough term that it's arbitrary to imply that if it's a PC, the thing
is automatically a Windows computer. Finally, even though the commercial I
saw showed different people using their PCs for different activities, it largely
showed someone simply making a claim.
What I'd like to see instead is something along the lines of this: "My
PC is me." HP has the tagline "The computer is personal again."
Why shouldn't Microsoft make use of something similar? I'd prefer to see a
real profile of someone using their PC for interesting activities, rather
than just a talking head saying, "I'm a PC, too." Microsoft has
partnerships with enough major PC vendors that it could do tie-ins if it wanted.
Microsoft just needs to do something different than what it's doing (and has
done) so far in its massive ad campaign. I, for one, don't think they're getting
their $300 million's worth.
I read your review of the "I'm a PC" commercials and thought
it was a bit harsh. The new ad is leaps and bounds better than the Seinfeld
ad (mostly because Bill is not in it). Actually, Bill is so goofy that any
ad he would be in would ruin it. That said, the new ad has integrity and shows
real people doing amazing things with the technology. I am happy Microsoft
is finally responding with any kind of ad, actually. It has been tread on
by Apple for for too long. I will admit the marketing machine at M$ needs
a lot of polish.
Really incredibly poor ad. It says nothing. (Are you sure that Apple didn't
pay for it?) More and more, it seems like Microsoft is really out of touch.
I think the main point of the ads is that while a Mac can SAY how great
it is, the fact is that the majority of the world uses a PC!
The "I'm a PC" ads do a good job of overcoming the myth that
only Macs work well. I would like them to go further and say exactly what
users like about the PCs. For instance, a Mac ad states that Macs can run
Microsoft Office. If I were Microsoft, I would want a PC ad to compare the
amount of third-party compatible software and hardware for Macs with PCs.
I want to see comparisons of the quantity of qualified support people for
Mac vs. the PC.
Given the necessary resources and accepting the limitations of each operating
systems, all computers can work well and I am happy for the diversity. Many
of my clients only call me after hours of unsuccessful phone OEM support.
My PC clients are frustrated by their phone support. My Mac clients accept
that phone support didn't help without complaint. Can anyone tell me why the
perception is different?
I myself find the "I am a PC" commercials confusing and contradictory.
If you think about it, the PCs are still a market leader and they perform
all the functions that we need them to in one form or another. The commercials
are not explaining or saying anything to me other than, "We are all different
and we all have our own weaknesses." And what I mean by weakness is the
inconsistency of hardware quality. As unique and different as we all are,
we are also frail and easy to break if we try to be the cheapest thing out
This is exactly why Apple is of such a high quality, including in price.
The design is wonderful, performance is amazing, and it is gaining ground
because of the opinion that it has a stable OS that is easy to learn and master,
and owning one means a sense of longevity.
The Gates-Sienfeld ads were STUPID! In fact, they were beyond stupid and
rank in stupidity next to the "brilliant minds" who gave us the
current financial meltdown.
The current ads are better, but why not try the simple approach? Something
like what Sprint did with its CEO talking about how they can personalize the
handheld telecommunication box to your needs, rather than spending $300 million
on a STUPID Sienfeld ad. Microsoft could've used the money to pay some American
developers to test the Chinese-developed Vista OS for bugs and trap doors.
That way, MS could've blunted Apple's so-called superiority, as far as system
I have to agree with your assessment. How about an ad that directly refutes
the so-called "myths"? These ads just make it seem like they are
in fact true. It will fail to convince those that need to be.
The "Mojave experiment" is even sillier -- nobody ever said
Vista didn't LOOK good.
Bill thinks Microsoft made another misstep when it decided to buy
back $40 billion of its own shares:
I have to disagree. While the stock buyback is an excellent indicator
of the strength of Microsoft's balance sheet and fiscal position, it is also
an excellent indicator that the company is running out of ideas.
Apparently, they are sitting on a mountain of cash and 1) they can't
find (or can't make a deal on) other companies or products worth buying, or
2) they can't think of anything internally in which they can invest. Stock
buybacks are, to me, a sign of a company that has lost its vision.
In the spirit of Doug's "Speak Out on VMware and Chrome" item, here
are a few of you doing just that:
I'm eager for VMware to virtualize more. The best part is the company's
focus on quality in both the underlying technology and the management tools.
I don't have to be an ESX expert to configure and operate the tools. Assuming
VMware maintains this ability to make intuitive, stable products that ease
labor, I'm eager to buy, deploy and use them.
Chrome is OK, I guess. I remember that when I started using Firefox, I
practically gave up IE immediately. With Chrome, it seems that I have to keep
reminding myself that I have it, and want to try it out. There is nothing
there that excites me about it.
I downloaded Chrome a couple weeks ago, and other than a few sites that
aren't supporting it too well yet, I've been truly impressed. As an Internet
application developer I really get off on the memory usage, multiprocess-oriented
tabs and "Inspect element" feature. It's great for analyzing what
exactly ASP.NET or any other framework is shipping down to the client. I love
the internal task manager with the "Stats for nerds." At work, we're
currently doing some final performance testing before we implement into production
and would love to be able to use Chrome to help distinguish basic memory usage
issues. But alas, my company is much too bureaucratic for useful tools to
be downloaded willy-nilly.
My only complaint is that I haven't found add-ins like in Firefox. So
from a user perspective, I'd say I still like Firefox better, but as a developer
I'm quickly shedding my ties to all other browsers.
One reader has a bone to pick with a recent
news item that said most botnets come from the U.S.:
According to SecureWorks, 20.6 million attacks originated from U.S. computers
and 7.7 million from Chinese computers. But that's meaningless unless you
normalize that to the number of users with wideband connections in each country.
And, since it's on everyone else's mind, Bruce shares his 2 cents on the current
Hell yes, the AIG investors should bear the brunt of the fallout! I agree
with you wholeheartedly: The investors in those companies should bear the
brunt of them failing -- NOT the general public. There needs to be a constitutional
amendment against bailouts. Yes, I'm a card carrying Libertarian.
Tune in next week for even more reader letters -- including more of your reviews
of Microsoft's new ad campaign. Meanwhile, tell us what you think by commenting
below or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Doug Barney on 09/25/2008 at 1:16 PM