One month ago, I posted a column regarding Microsoft finally taking a crack at Apple (after two years) in the "I'm a PC, I'm a Mac" war waging on TV. I did take some comments from Apple users regarding how "stupid" PC users were, which is to be expected. I suppose it either shows fierce brand loyalty or that Apple owners need to take some time off.
The agencies for which I have worked used both...a testament to the strengths of each platform. I do applaud Apple for putting the smackdown on Microsoft regarding customer service. If you've ever had the misfortune of trying to get anything out of Microsoft that is not available on their web site, good friggin' luck. There are a billion steps to go through, and no easy way to do it. In fact, even if you do get through, the answer is usually not the one that fixes the problem. Such is the empire of Darth Gates.
Microsoft didn’t make much of an effort to fight against Apple’s Get a Mac campaign when it launched 2006. Finally in 2008, Microsoft announced a $300 million ad campaign to fire back. The company’s first few bullets shot at Apple appeared ineffective, beginning with some quirky commercials starring Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates, followed by a friendly campaign called “I’m a PC.” Microsoft’s latest Laptop Hunter commercials are the fiercest yet, delivering sarcastic lines such as “I guess I’m not cool enough to be a Mac user” that appear to be echoing in the chambers of consumers’ brains.
Wired reports that Microsoft's "Laptop Hunters" spots are, indeed, hurting Apple.
Based on the chart for A18-34, Apple clearly dominated the race until late March when Microsoft started trending up. However, this information needs to be taken with a grain of salt as it merely shows the "Value" perception of PC's being higher. Apple still leads on quality and reputation. Microsoft also overtook Apple in "Satisfaction" and "Willingness to Recommend." Other than that, the needle did not significantly change. Yet, it's still a bruised Apple.
The best thing to come out of this "war" is that it clearly illustrates that advertising does, indeed, change perception. (Whew!)