For years Microsoft endured Apple's abuse, as its competitor aired scores of commercials, slowly convincing computer users that Windows was an error-prone, virus-burdened, inefficient, impotent OS. Now Microsoft has fired back with the culmination of its $300M USD advertising counterattack -- a series of pointed commercials developed by Crispin Porter + Boguksy.
In the first commercial, a “Laptop Hunter” named Lauren looked at Mac computers only to find them overpriced. Commenting that she "wasn't cool enough" for a Mac, she ended up buying an HP notebook instead.
Now a second commercial has come out and is looking to continue the attack on Apple. In the new commercial, a young engineer and recent college graduate named Giampaolo goes hunting for a laptop when offered $1,500 by Microsoft's secret ad agents. Giampaolo goes to a number of shops, including an Apple store.
While impressed with the Apple MacBook Air’s looks, which he calls "so sexy", it’s what he finds inside that is ugly. Giampaolo, who labels himself as "tech-savvy", instead chooses the HP HDX 16 -- a PC with an Intel 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo, NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT graphics, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB drive, which he finds at his local Fry's Electronics. He gets the computer for $1,099. A comparable machine with a smaller 15" screen (albeit with "Millions of Colors"), would have cost $2,499 at the Apple store.
Pocketing over $300 after taxes, he comments, "Macs, to me, are more about the aesthetics than they are the computing power. I don't wanna pay for the brand, I wanna pay for the computer."
Giampaolo ends up taking home the computer and a little extra money. Of his purchase he says, "You can't beat that."
Critics of the first commercial aren't likely to be happy with the second. Some are accusing Microsoft of favoritism of HP computers (both shoppers picked HPs) or have gone as far as to claim the commercials are scripted. Crispin Porter + Boguksy insists that they're 100 percent authentic.
Whichever side of the aisle you fall, it’s clear that Microsoft is targeting its rival much more aggressively. In particular, it's making a strong case that Apple users pay for the brand, not the computer, a message driven home both by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, and by the new commercial
You can watch the latest commercial here.