Microsoft's series of attack ads against Apple continues with the release of the third "Laptop Hunter" commercial, based around the experience of a mother and her son deciding to buy a less expensive, Windows-based entertainment notebook. Microsoft, the world's largest software company, has steadily been upping its attacks on rival Apple in an attempt to persuade customers they needn't pay an Apple "tax" driven by aesthetic design and a "cool" factor.
In the latest ad, the mother and son are followed into a Best Buy, where the boy decides upon a Sony Vaio after a brief perusal of Apple computers, one of which is deemed "a little small." The mother's comments are reserved for denouncing the entire fleet of Macbooks, enthusiastically noting, "These are way more money, dude!" The ad concludes with a variation on Microsoft's catchphrase for the ads, "They agree. It's a PC."
The ads, which began airing at the end of March, all feature demographically appealing consumers looking for a bargain. In the first, a perky, young woman named Lauran searches for a laptop for under $700, eventually settling on a Hewlett-Packard. After walking out of an Apple store, she mentions that she would have to "double her budget" to afford a Mac with the 17-inch screen she wanted. "I'm just not cool enough to be a Mac person," she adds with touch of ironic longing.
Microsoft launched the second attack soon after, this time working the geekster (geek+hipster) angle with the help of Giampaolo, who informs us that he thinks Macs are more about "aesthetics" than "computing power." He decides on an HP laptop, naturally, and tells the audience, "I'm a PC, because I'm really picky."
The issue of the ads' effectiveness engulfed the blogosphere, where warring camps of pro-Microsoft or anti-Apple debated everything from the level of aggression to whether poor picky Giampaolo (who the narrator affectionately refers to as "G") is a big loser who doesn't know anything about technology. An astute analysis of the ad can also be found on eWEEK's own Microsoft blog, Microsoft Watch.
Notably, the ads were created by the Miami-based advertising firm Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the company that brought the world the nearly unwatchable, universally derided Bill Gates/Jerry Seinfeld ad (as well as Burger King's enormously popular but privacy-pervading "Whopper Sacrifice" application on Facebook), which was quickly pulled off the air and caused much embarrassment for Microsoft and the agency.
The concept of the ads actually builds on an Endpoint Technologies Associates study Microsoft sponsored, which declares a hidden "Apple Tax" can be found on all Mac PCs. Endpoint Technologies' Roger Kay wrote the 11-page whitepaper, which compares Apples and Windows-based laptops from Dell and desktops from HP. "With Macs, you're out top dollar, but can't get a package with all this cutting edge stuff now, nor can you add it later, which means you'll always be behind," he concludes. "How cool is that?"