What's with Apple's commercials?

Especially their newest one: http://youtube.com/watch?v=iHtymB-lQIc

Pot calling the kettle black? Seriously, what right does Apple have to say Microsoft spends too much on advertising?

Typical Microsoft commercial: “Look at all these people, companies and groups who succeed with Microsoft Windows”

John Gruber perhaps said it best: (n.b.: Gruber’s quite loose with his language elsewhere on the site)

So for years now Microsoft has been running vapid, meaningless campaigns such as “people_ready”. Here’s the text from a print ad they ran in May 2006, which I wrote about here: In a people-ready business, people make it happen. People, ready with software. When you give your people tools that connect, inform, and empower them, they’re ready. Ready to collaborate with partners, suppliers, and customers. Ready to streamline the supply chain, beat impossible deadlines, and develop ideas that can sway the course of industry. Ready to build a successful business: a people-ready business. Microsoft. Software for the people-ready business. To learn more, visit microsoft.com/peopleready
This ad says nothing, but pretends to say something.

Which brings us to the two TV spots Microsoft debuted this month, featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates. The first, shoe shopping. The second, less a commercial than a 4.5-minute short film, shows Gates and Seinfeld moving in with a typical family in an attempt to reconnect with, well, typical people.

As entertainment, the spots are good. Both are well-shot, well-cut, well-acted works of cinema. And they’re a radical departure for Microsoft insofar as they completely dropped the meaningless corporate doublespeak that’s been the hallmark of their advertising for the last decade.

But they “worked” only insofar as they said nothing and dropped the pretense of saying something. The spots said nothing and reveled in the nothingness.

Just well-made nothing. A couple of million bucks just burned up in well-produced style.

Besides, I think you might be missing the point Apple’s trying to convey: their product works, Microsoft’s doesn’t, and now Microsoft’s trying to fight back with ads instead of a working product.

Of course, beauty is always in the eye of the beholder.

I thought the exact same thing. I think they are starting to go to far and are starting to appear mean.

BTW, hey Apple, a Mac is a PC.

But…that’s where Apple is wrong. Microsoft’s product DOES work as shown by their commercials. I personally use Vista everyday. I have yet to have a single problem with Vista, and I have been using it for months.

I personally believe Apple should work on lowering their prices instead of dishing out millions in advertising…

maybe apple should open source their stuff, therefore it gets more attention. if you gave manufacturers like Dell, HP, and Gateway the option to add an Apple o.s. to their PC, you might see more use.

otherwise, lower your prices, make it work for people who will actually LIKE to use it, and not just use it because it’s COOL and think it’s NICE.

While we’re at it, let’s have Cadillac or BMW make a car that sells for $15,000.

Apple is not your average computer company. They are quite content to let Dell/Gateway/Acer/Asus/anyone fight it out for the low end of the market; they’re quite happy reaping sizable margins from the higher-end product they sell.

At last week’s Keynote, Apple’s COO Tim Cook noted that Apple has 18% of the US computer market–but 31% of the revenue share. Almost one in three dollars spent in the United States on a computer is on a Mac. You don’t get those numbers selling $500 laptops.

I think you’re mixing up your lingo. Apple’s long been involved in open source software to varying degrees. If you’re talking about Apple licensing Mac OS X to other manufacturers, then I venture a hearty been there, done that. Apple doesn’t need to license it, and lose their ability to integrate hardware with software as effectively by doing so.

otherwise, lower your prices, make it work for people who will actually LIKE to use it, and not just use it because it’s COOL and think it’s NICE.
As someone who actually likes to use OS X (and merely tolerates XP at work) and thinks it works just fine for me, I believe Apple’s prices are fair for their product. Any eye candy is just a perk.

So you’re happy with overpaying for eyecandy? The sad thing is is you can build computers with the same specs often for 1/2 the price of what they’re selling. What Cook is really saying is that they’re advertising department is good, not their computers.

I don’t want to start a holy war here, but what is the deal with you Mac fanatics? I’ve been sitting here at my freelance gig in front of a Mac (a C2D Macbook w/ 1 gig of RAM) for about 20 minutes now while it attempts to copy a 17 Meg file from one folder on the hard drive to another folder. 20 minutes. At home, on my Celeron D running Windows XP, which by all standards should be a lot slower than this Mac, the same operation would take about 20 seconds. If that.

In addition, during this file transfer, Finder will not work. And everything else has ground to a halt. Even Safari is straining to keep up as I type this.

I won’t bore you with the laundry list of other problems that I’ve encountered while working on various Macs, but suffice it to say there have been many, not the least of which is I’ve never seen a Mac that has run faster than its Windows counterpart, despite the Macs’ faster operating system. My 1.2 ghz celeron with 256 megs of ram runs faster than this 2.0 Ghz machine at times. From a productivity standpoint, I don’t get how people can claim that the Macintosh is a superior machine.

Mac addicts, flame me if you’d like, but I’d rather hear some intelligent reasons why anyone would choose to use a Mac over other faster, cheaper, more stable systems.

I agree with Billfred. Plus, I do not think Apple is a computer built for everybody. Some people will use it and see absolutely no difference. Some will see it just does not work for them. For for some of us, it is perfect. I love the simplicity, elegance and thoughtfulness put into it. I love convenience and the little extra features that make life simple. I love the standard hardware that is made to run perfectly with the OS. I love that there aren’t 200 applications to do the same thing. It’s usually 1 or 2 very good applications. I love that I never have to worry about viruses, trojans, spyware etc as few exist. I am very happy with my mac. I have XP and Vista computers but they are made for different purposes. You are paying for the time and effort it took to give you the comfort with a mac.

This is not to say that I think Microsoft is useless. It has its place. I find it great for developing applications, robotics apps, the ability to expand, customize and build hardware on your own terms. For everyday use, I definitely prefer the mac though. There are just too many little issues with windows that I don’t want to deal with. You are very much entitled to whatever makes your life simpler. And yes, you can build cheaper, powerful, better looking, blah blah for 1/2 the price. But some of us prefer the convenience and service.

Oh, we’re supposed to actually watch commercials? huh…

Also, I hope Apple knows they’re shooting themselves in their own feet when it comes to Virus and malware protection. Microsoft’s biggest fault, apparently, is it’s popularity. So many viruses are written to attack Windows. Now what happens if the Mac somehow reaches, say, 50% of the market share. Are they seriously going to deny that their won’t be viruses written to attack it?

Yes, happy to the point of recommending it to my friends and coworkers–and they don’t seem to mind overpaying for eyecandy, either. It might be that the value of the entire system is at a price they’re willing to pay.

I won’t flame anyone who isn’t feeling it, though I will note that 1 GB of RAM is low for an Intel-based Mac. My MacBook has 2 GB; you can now option up a MacBook Pro to four.

To answer your request: For me, my Mac is faster, more stable, and more durable than the PCs I have owned and worked with over the years. The build quality is better than most PCs–thinner, lighter, stronger–which is important when you talk laptops. Add in thoughtful features–MagSafe connectors, slot-loading optical drives (trays can break off and have opened in my bag before), a comfortable keyboard for typing, a trackpad that allows for simple scrolling (two fingers anywhere instead of feeling for some abstract edge)–and I think that they are worth the added cost.

My senior year, I led (read: did) the installation of a four-seat computer lab in my old building on campus using the aluminum iMacs. I was in that same lab last night, and they’re still good as new–no trim pieces to yank off, no undesirable software installed, even on XP, and the new lab manager can run the whole thing from one spot. I call that success.

Yes, there are vulnerabilities in OS X. I know it, they know it, everyone knows it.

For most cases, though, I’ve found OS X’s nagging to be more tastefully-impelemented than Vista’s UAC prompts. When you really need permissions (changing system settings), it asks for an administrator username and password. It makes it harder to blast through them blindly and screw something up because they’re harder to get past (impossible without the password) and they come up less often (which throws up a red flag you’re more likely to notice).

It all comes down to value–if you can realize extra value for the added cost, get a Mac. If not, go with something else.

beach ball hates me

Very well said.

Yup, it’ll only cost me another $225 to option up to 4 gigs. I hope my RAM is being put to good use… rendering my glossy dock and animating that ridiculous flip browse thingy.

My Mac:
Congrats on buying a Mac. Would you please type in your personal information so I can send it to the Jobs mothership in orbit? Please? No? I won’t let you use your computer until you do. Oh, and you want a .Mac account right? It’ll only be another $60 a year for some trivial services. Oh, but they’re integrated into your operating system, so they’re exciting! Didn’t want that with your OS? Well, I’ll just plop little menu entries in various places to remind you. But you are going to sign up with iTunes, right? No? But you’re missing out on all the great features, like the way I lock up—erm, liberate—your music! You can even get album art if you sign up! Just choose Visa, Mastercard, or Discover.

Why do people get so touchy about their computer operating system, to the point of flame wars?

Really, whether you use Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, or whatever doesn’t make that much difference to anyone else except you.

Who cares if someone else spends $2000 on a computer that you think you can build for $600. Why is it that this causes flame wars, but you’ll never see flame wars for people who buy a BMW or Audi instead of a Toyota or Ford? If your only measure of a car is its cost, then BMW or Audi are obviously a lot more expensive for something that gets you from point A to B (and would therefore be “dumb” or “too expensive” or earn comments like “my $500 car can do that”).

But obviously different people look for different things from their cars, just as different people look for different things from their OS. Some people like reliability. Some like cheap cost. Some like gaming. Some like video editing. Some like running servers. For different reasons, they will choose different OSes; whether its OSX or Windows or whatever. Sometimes they use multiple OSes, to get the best benefits of all of them, while trying to avoid their shortcomings.

That being said, right now post is being written from my iMac in OSX. It could also have come from my iMac in Vista, or my laptop in XP. There’s no way you can tell. But the post came through, right?

Getting back to the topic of this thread, which was Apple’s advertising, I’d say that it honestly doesn’t matter. Who cares what Apple puts in their commercials? If you don’t like it, change the channel. But at the end of the day, those ads get stuck in everyone’s heads. Whether you like Macs or not, you remember those commercials. Like the Geico ones with the cavemen, or the animated Esurance ones, or the Bud-Wei-Ser frogs from back in the day, you don’t forget a good commercial. And that’s the point of effective marketing.

If you really want my two cents on marketing, here it is:

  • Apple
  • While their “I’m a Mac…” ads have done great in the branding department, I don’t think they do OSX justice. And its getting kind of old. Really, just take a screen capture of average people using the computer for normal things (like some mom sending photos of her kids to the grandparents, or someone else taking their video from their digital camera, editing it, and posting to Youtube), and film the people’s reactions and the product would sell like hot cakes. For bonus points, first show people who would typically be the ones to call Geek Squad and show them how easy it is to use Macs, as that’s the most likely target audience that would switch. Remember: Apple is a company dedicated to average people and creative professionals. - Microsoft
  • Has usually had a lot of dumb commercials over the years, with the exception of their most recent “I’m a PC” one. Great counter to Apple’s ads, though it does nothing to prove anything about the actual OS. Then again, Microsoft is by far the dominate market share leader, and its OS sells itself. The only Microsoft marketing that I see as useful is for things like Exchange, Sharepoint, or Server 2008, or similar things. Remember: Microsoft is usually a lot more dedicated to companies and professional corporate users, and is traditionally at its best with working with software for those priorities (read: Office, Exchange, Sharepoint, etc).

My Mac:
Congrats on buying a Mac. Would you please type in your personal information so I can send it to the Jobs mothership in orbit? Please? No? I won’t let you use your computer until you do. Oh, and you want a .Mac account right? It’ll only be another $60 a year for some trivial services. Oh, but they’re integrated into your operating system, so they’re exciting! Didn’t want that with your OS? Well, I’ll just plop little menu entries in various places to remind you. But you are going to sign up with iTunes, right? No? But you’re missing out on all the great features, like the way I lock up—erm, liberate—your music! You can even get album art if you sign up! Just choose Visa, Mastercard, or Discover.
Windows isn’t any different; they still ask for your name at install, they still bundle Live Services, Internet Explorer, and Windows Media Player so far deep into the OS that its practically impossible to extricate, they still siphon off personal info whenever they can, and they still try to sell you things like 60 trials of MS Office. (Ever notice how Office seems to know your personal info when being inserted into documents?)

For that matter, Google isn’t much different either. Have Gmail? Use Google Search a lot? Watch a lot of YouTube videos? I bet they have gigabytes of information on you.

Advertising isn’t supposed to tell you the truth. It’s there to sell you a perception so you’ll buy their product because if they were actually selling the truth then they’d have to admit to their warts too.
Tell people what they want to hear and hope that is enough to get them to buy what you’re selling. Perception fuels reality.

I didn’t say Windows was any better. It’s sad that the assumption is, if not a Mac, Windows. It leads to a race to the bottom. Even still, Windows force you to type in your personal information when you first use your computer, nor does it nag you to pay for Live.

For that matter, Google is different. What information they do have is from the course of using their services, and it’s information that they’re probably legally bound to keep for a while too. They did not force me to put in my name, nor did they nag me to upgrade to the paid version of Gmail.

I just bought a new Macbook Pro, it came with 2gig of RAM, I went online, bought 4 gig’s for less then $80, Apple really over prices extras on their online store but who wouldn’t? Its easy money for them and simple business.
This is my first Mac and I love it. The easy of using it, the speed and how seamless everything feels. Yes Mac asked for my info but I have not been forced or even asked to upgrade to anything other then mobile me which I would pay much, much more for because it is so great. I have been asked for more personal info while setting up windows systems then with the Mac.

To quote Gruberagain…

Microsoft’s panicked reaction to these Seinfeld ads, yanking them from the air and severing ties with Seinfeld, isn’t because the ads were poorly received. And dropping these ads is a panicked reaction. Let’s not pretend it makes any sense that the Seinfeld spots were planned as a two-episode teaser all along. No one signs Jerry Seinfeld for $10 million in a much-heralded deal to make just two spots that only run for a grand total of two weeks. The most telling fact is that the firm that reached out to the media yesterday to explain that this sudden shift was supposedly the plan all along was not Crispin Porter, the advertising agency producing the campaign, but Waggener Edstrom, Microsoft’s PR firm. Advertising campaigns which are going according to plan do not need PR firms to assert such.

The reaction to the ads wasn’t bad, it was mixed (and/or baffled). But the spots were undeniably successful in one important regard: they were noticed and discussed. I suspect what sparked the panic is that the Seinfeld ads were too good, too accurate at capturing just what it is that Microsoft, as a company and brand, stands for: nothing.

Fun note: people who still start the Mac vs. Windows complaints are Windows users.