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  (Source: Robert Scoble)

"Hello! I'm a PC and I've been made into a stereotype!" exclaims a John Hodgman look alike in Microsoft's new spots.  (Source: Microsoft)

MMA tough guy Rashad Evans is among the celebs as well as normal people to declare their love for the PC. Says Evans, "I'm a PC! YOU got a problem with that?!?" It seems pretty unlikely that Justin Long would manage more than a nervous squeak.   (Source: Microsoft)
"I'm a PC! YOU got a problem with that?!?"

Anticipation was high for the Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld ads when they debuted earlier this month.  After all, they paired one of comedy's greats with a father figure of the tech industry -- that should surely be enough to take on feisty Apple computers, right?  Not, so it turns out. 

First the initial ad was blasted across the internet as being nonsensical, unfunny, and generally pointless.  Said ZDNet, "Maybe I’m off base here but I think if Microsoft is trying to engage people with this ad, it has failed miserably."

Gizmodo piped in, "There's not really a whole lot of anything, including laughs, information or pimping of Vista. It's kinda like Seinfeld's really long, really rambling Superman ad for Amex he did a few years back."

The LA Times said the first ad had disturbing racial overtones and generally was in bad taste.  Their blogger remarked, "It pulls none of the emotional strings that might have helped Microsoft "reconnect" with its audience (not that I remember ever being connected to them)."

Criticism for the clips taken from the second full length ad was less vitriolic, but it was not glowing either.  The 4-5 minutes spot about Bill Gates and Seinfeld moving in with a suburban family had its funny points, but again struggled to make a clear connection to a product.

A couple days ago a frenzy of reports began circulating around the internet stating that the seemingly inevitable was about to happen -- Microsoft was pulling the plug on the Gates and Seinfeld spots.  While the gist of this statement may be true, the official word is that the ads are not canceled but merely on "hiatus" and may appear back again at any time.

The true story first began to surface when a Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the ad firm in charge of the campaign and also responsible for the latest Burger King commercials, contradicted the reports according to Gizmodo.

While the old ads may not be gone for good, Microsoft has moved on to "Phase 2", with brand new spots.  The first of these entitled "I'm a PC" aired last night on NBC's popular comedy The Office.  The ads open with a John Hodgeman lookalike saying that PC users have fallen victim to stereotyping.  It then shows off Windows users ranging from geek, like Gates and Deepak Chopra, to glamorous like Eva Longoria and Tony Parker.  Seinfeld was conspicuously absent in the new commercials.

The new ads received a much warmer reception.  As Gizmodo puts it the ads "definitely beat the crap out of those (ill-fated?) Gates/Seinfeld ads when it comes to making a point."

Another funny part comes in the second version of the spot, where, at the end, top MMA fighter Rashad Evans spits out, "I'm a PC.  You got a problem with that."

No one answers, but it seems likely that Justin Long would suddenly have not much to say if he were around.  Indeed, the line delivers the sentiment many frustrated PC owners had been feeling themselves for a long time, but were perhaps not intimidating enough to say.

Perhaps the strongest aspects of these new ads are the parts where they show a variety of everyday people stating the perhaps soon-to-become-iconic line "I'm a PC".  They also seamlessly tie together these with comments on the people’s occupations -- such as an environmental activist, a McCain campaign staffer, an Obama blogger, and even an astronaut.  And there's a bit of randomness too, with comments on the people's facial features like beards and glasses, without losing the point or sounding too inane.  It all ties together into a sort of spot that’s significantly more endearing and even a bit funny.

While Gates and Seinfeld may not be done with their strange antics, the new lifeblood of the Windows campaign seems to have been pumped.  Microsoft finally realized that it should give the people what they've been asking for all along -- a direct and witty response to the snarky "Get a Mac" commercials.

One of the new spot can be found here.  Another can be found here.



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RE: Seriously
By mondo1234 on 9/19/2008 2:02:29 PM , Rating: 0
quote:
No, the message is "PC's are awesome" you got a problem with that?


I have a problem with trolls who say PC's are awsome, but Windows isn't! Why didn't MS just have them say "I run Vista" and get to the point. Many vendors sell "PC"s with Ubuntu! PC is just the compatible box. This is like Chevrolet doing an add for sedan, just not specifically "their" sedan. Anyone can build a PC and choose their OS later. Grow up, or stay a troll and rate me down.


RE: Seriously
By mikefarinha on 9/19/2008 2:12:02 PM , Rating: 5
You are missing the point.

Microsoft isn't the one that tied the phrase "I'm a PC" with Windows. Apple did that on their own.

Most tech-literate people said WTF? when they saw what apple was doing. We knew that PC didn't equal Windows.

Now, after over 2 years of Apple telling everyone that PC = Windows and PC = old & boring, the idea that PC = Windows is now a part of popular culture, like it or not. So in a sheer stroke of genius, that I didn't see comming, Microsoft took its forced branding of being a PC and ran with it. Pure genius.

I think the other aspect of this campaign is that it effectivly pulls the rug out from the I'm a Mac comercials. I think they will be much less effective when you have a whole slew of home made videos of people proudly proclaiming "I'm a PC!"


RE: Seriously
By Sulphademus on 9/19/2008 2:21:38 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I do think they should push Vista specifically a bit in forthcoming editions. And yes, PC doesnt have to mean Windows but by and large it does.

PC side note: I know a girl, studying for the A+, who OCR scanned her study guide and uses Vista's accessability features to make Microsoft Sam read it to her.


RE: Seriously
By webdawg77 on 9/19/2008 4:17:17 PM , Rating: 5
Sweet! You know a girl! Rate this post up to a 6!

LOL, but seriously, if Microsoft can run with this and make some money by selling more copies of Windows, great for them.

Isn't the point of advertising to sell more of whatever? If it works, then Microsoft should give Apple a pat on the back for starting it all (but of course not any of the money made, they are a business after all).

I, for one, like being a PC :). When do I get to be in the commercials?


RE: Seriously
By MScrip on 9/21/2008 2:33:05 PM , Rating: 3
> "Isn't the point of advertising to sell more of whatever?"

Microsoft sells 92% of the operating systems in the world. They also have a very successful product called Microsoft Office. They don't need to advertise anything.

Microsoft is running these commercials to ease people's idea of Vista... ideas that the Mac commercials put in people's mind. Even after 3 years of Mac commercials bashing Windows, Microsoft still doesn't have any problems selling its products. They're just getting ready for the next version of Windows.


RE: Seriously
By snownpaint on 9/19/2008 2:25:48 PM , Rating: 2
Agree.. They took the common term of PC and attached their product to it.. Build the term PC and they build their brand as well.. got a PC, what OS are you going to use? The one that is advertising used on a PC.


RE: Seriously
By walk2k on 9/19/08, Rating: 0
RE: Seriously
By Proxes on 9/19/2008 4:44:58 PM , Rating: 2
In my experience with computers, starting in the 80's. Computers that ran a Microsoft OS were called IBMs or IBM Compatible or IBM Clone. PC was a term used for computers you had at home and/or workstations.

When Linux became more popular the term Wintel showed up. Now because of Apple anything other than a Mac is called a PC. I guess Wintel doesn't have the same ring to it.


RE: Seriously
By llamas on 9/19/2008 6:08:12 PM , Rating: 2
The original IBM product was the "IBM PC" and the compatible machines that followed were refered to as "IBM PC Compatible", "IBM Compatible", or (what I heard the most) "PC Compatible".

ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PC_compatible

Yes, there were other personal computers, but the "PC" initials because synonymous with the IBM PC/DOS-type machines pretty fast.


RE: Seriously
By omnicronx on 9/20/2008 1:04:34 AM , Rating: 1
A personal computer (PC) is any computer whose original sales price, size, and capabilities make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end user, with no intervening computer operator.

Today a PC may be a desktop computer, a laptop computer or a tablet computer. The most common operating systems are Microsoft Windows, Mac OS and Linux, while the most common microprocessors are x86-compatible CPUs

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_computer


RE: Seriously
By Hare on 9/20/2008 3:01:57 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Now because of Apple anything other than a Mac is called a PC.

I don't think so. The average Joe doesn't know what Windows really is. Most people think that "the internet" is the IE shortcut on your desktop. That's why most people think PC computers are boxes running Windows. They have no idea what Linux is and since all the PCs that are displayed in stores are running Windows "PC" term became a box running Windows.

To geeks this terminology may not be correct but to the average consumer it makes sense. PC with Windows = PC. Apple has nothing to do with this. Apple chose to use the term PC because consumers understand what it means. Apple wasn't targeting professionals or geeks with those ads.


RE: Seriously
By Oregonian2 on 9/19/2008 10:04:07 PM , Rating: 3
As others have already said, "PC == windows" is an Apple generated concept. What Apple makes and sells also are PC's but Apple wanted to differentiate the Apple PC from the IBM PC (and compatibles) so their marketing pushed to separate the two. Reason for doing that is to not have people compare their product's prices with those others -- can't do that because after all "they make PC's and we make something else".


RE: Seriously
By foolsgambit11 on 9/20/2008 12:50:34 PM , Rating: 2
Apple had been different because they didn't have x86 processors, and so couldn't have been called "IBM PC compatible". Of course, that's changed now, but for a long time before the switch to Intel processors, it was the case. So the distinction does make historic sense, especially during the 90's, when most households got their first computer.


RE: Seriously
By Oregonian2 on 9/22/2008 1:51:20 PM , Rating: 2
True, but note too that even the Apple ][ was a "PC", it just wasn't an IBM compatible one.

Apple PC's have had many CPU's (let's see: x86, PPC, 68K, 650x, and I'm not sure what was in the Apple I, I saw it at the first Atlantic City computer faire in 19mumble but don't recall if it was a 650x (which I suspect). Don't recall what was in the Lisa either (although I did enjoy playing with one between frequent reboots -- one we had made Windows 9x seem stable).


RE: Seriously
By omnicronx on 9/20/2008 1:02:18 AM , Rating: 1
PC = Personal Computer.. which usually means a machine used by the end user. It has nothing to do with the OS, Apple gave it that label. Windows, OSX, and Linux are all PC Operating systems.

The OP is correct, Apple gave Microsoft the label, now they are using it to their advantage.


RE: Seriously
By mondo1234 on 9/19/2008 8:19:36 PM , Rating: 1
No, you are missing the point. Dont you read Daily Tech? They just published an article on "Lenovo Removes Online Sales of Linux-Based PCs". Six days ago! You should explain your "tech literacy" to Daily Tech writers! The article confirms the point of the confusion (or someone else's perceived "Brilliance").

Here is the link:

http://www.dailytech.com/Lenovo+Removes+Online+Sal...

PCs are a "IBM Compatible" hardware standard. Always have been since the early 1980's. Now you have Dell selling "PC"s with Linux" installed. I have PC's with Windows and Linux installed because linux is PC compatible. PC is just the box.
The irony is that Apple never targeted Windows, just the PC and let the customer draw the conclusion. Apple has been known not to use "Industry Standard" equipment and they haven't been known as PC compatible. Most "tech-literate people" know that.


RE: Seriously
By anotherdude on 9/19/2008 9:31:47 PM , Rating: 2
"The irony is that Apple never targeted Windows, just the PC and let the customer draw the conclusion."

Apple mentions Vista by name over and over again in those ads, so yes, they are specifically targeting MS BY NAME


RE: Seriously
By mikefarinha on 9/19/2008 9:34:51 PM , Rating: 3
ummm... are you intentionally not reading what I wrote?
quote:
Microsoft isn't the one that tied the phrase "I'm a PC" with Windows. Apple did that on their own.

Most tech-literate people said WTF? when they saw what apple was doing. We knew that PC didn't equal Windows .

Then you come along and have the nerve to say this
quote:
The irony is that Apple never targeted Windows, just the PC and let the customer draw the conclusion.


Apple has never targeted Windows? ... Apple has NEVER targeted Windows?!?!? Have you seen the Mac ads? Here are a few if you need your memory refreshed.

Upgrading to Vista
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ci2D1ig4df4&feature...

Vista UAC
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxOIebkmrqs&feature...

Vista is nothing but problems
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfCHuVrWHPk&feature...

Vista has bad PR
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzhvByaCEic&feature...

Give up on Vista
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRAUlK8_2VE

Don't give up on Vista
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTpEoZYFLkw&feature...

Choose a Vista
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxLgBx3W9Ss&feature...

Vista Nightmare
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F08pBkXgzRg&feature...

Mac is the fastest Vista laptop
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idviJ3EgcAk&feature...

DLL error
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCmr3xj5qSw

Calming teas for Vista
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTnOGilhkjQ

Hard to switch from Vista, the King
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20BvmXHvArY

The Vista Blues
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qB7EV8E9Ljc

Vista and Yoga
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebAacf2aJaQ&feature...

Leapord is better than Vista
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAWZFkGre6g&feature...


RE: Seriously
By mondo1234 on 9/19/2008 10:52:19 PM , Rating: 4
Touche, and I see your point. I guess I really never watched them, but I can be open minded about that!
That doesn't deter the fact that PCs are generic, (and until the Intel switch, Apple has never been PC compatible, hackers created that)and windows is unique. So whats your take on this? (this is the same thing Intel ran into)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ldiazsantana/28690947...

Do you fire the ad agency?


RE: Seriously
By mikefarinha on 9/19/2008 11:51:26 PM , Rating: 2
Well, thank you for accepting my point... that doesn't happen to often on the internet!

Personally about the ad agency using mac's to make the ads... who cares.

If Toyota hired an ad agency that used Fords to drive around should Toyota fire them? Of course not, it's just a silly way to try and spit in someones eye. I mean, come on, should Microsoft screen all their ad agencies to make sure they're a Windows only shop?


RE: Seriously
By mondo1234 on 9/20/2008 12:35:05 AM , Rating: 1
For $300 million, I would demand it. Otherwise, it hypocritical. If Intel made a commercial (with AMD chips) to show the power of their processors , you don't think Intel would be embarrassed? Give it a few weeks and MS will change this. Just the fact that MS feels cornered by Apple speaks volumes. The 800 lb gorilla perceives Apple as a threat.
Also, why drop money into a market that you have 95% control? I would rather drop $300 mil in Zune advertising and see a return. This whole concept to take on the little guy is retarded. It makes them look insecure about their product line.


RE: Seriously
By mikefarinha on 9/20/2008 1:49:10 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
For $300 million, I would demand it.

This is why you don't run your own company nor make decisions on how to spend $300 million.

Microsoft is currently number 1. Microsoft would like to stay number 1. A company does not stay number 1 by letting its competitor define its public image, regardless of the competiors size. Microsoft needs to engage its customers to make them proud to be using Microsoft products. This whole campaign ins't "Hey you should switch to a PC" this campaign is, partially, about "hey I'm a PC and I don't have all these stupid issues that others say I do. In fact I'm quite productive. I'm proud to be a PC and I want to tell people why!"

There was a really good blog by Kathy Sierra called "Creating Passionate Users." It wasn't about just creating useful products for people, but making people proud and passionate about your product/service/company. You've seen the Reality Distortion Field putout by Steve Jobs, it is an amazing thing to behold and is very effective in keeping the company proffitable. Apple users not only love their Macs but feel the need to tell everyone else why anything non-mac sucks. It is great business and great marketing.

Microsoft's biggest fault is not doing this sooner.

I know this is a tech site and not a business site, but it would really make the discussions a bit more useful and educational if people really thought about all the many facets of why these tech companies make certain business decisions. Instead it usually decends down to personal emotional comments of how stupid company xyz is for doing this or not doing that.

One of the most improtant things I learned in my Strategic Management class in college (My degree is in Business: MIS) was that there are no right or wrong decisions, only decisions that hopefully turn out better than others.


RE: Seriously
By mikefarinha on 9/19/2008 9:42:29 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, and here is another stupid quote of yours.
quote:
Apple has been known not to use "Industry Standard" equipment and they haven't been known as PC compatible. Most "tech-literate people" know that.


If Apple does't use industry standard 'equipment' then why can Windows and Linux run on Mac equipment? Windows and Linux wern't designed for the 'non-standard' Mac equipment.

All Apple did was take generic PC hardware and then put a special key in it to allow their OS.


RE: Seriously
By foolsgambit11 on 9/20/2008 1:07:19 PM , Rating: 2
Okay, the OP was probably referring to pre-2006 Apple strategies, when they used Motorola CPUs (non x86, therefore no Windows without virtualization). Nowadays, Macs can run Windows just fine because they've switched to Intel processors (x86). But as for Linux, it could always run on Apple computers. Linux can be compiled for any kind of processor, and I personally knew people running Linux on their PowerPC Macs. Linux wasn't designed to be run on any specific platform.

These days, all Apple does is take PC hardware (usually not generic, it's usually pretty decent stuff) and provide the software support (drivers, &c.) to allow OS X to successfully run on the hardware.

But anyway, the OP was referencing the historical distinction, when Macs were not IBM PC compatible machines, and that's why they weren't grouped in under the "PC" heading, even though they were literally "Personal Computers".


RE: Seriously
By FOMO on 9/21/2008 1:22:35 PM , Rating: 2
It seems that when an ad is so ambiguous that it is subject to rampant interpretation, it's not a well produced ad. Obviously most people are in serious disagreement about the meaning of this particular ad, so, I guess it's not a very good one. Also, IMO, Gates looked like an ass doing those robot gestures and was, generally, nerdy in his affectation. Seinfeld was, as usual, a pompous git. That's about all I have to say about those silly ads except that I hope we don't see anymore of them.


RE: Seriously
By mikefarinha on 9/22/2008 12:28:03 AM , Rating: 2
I don't understand why people are so quick to criticize something they admit they don't understand?

Why not instead comment on the merrits of its success or failure?


"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer














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