Microsoft's new TV ad whacks Apple over prices

It 'picked Apple's weakest point,' says analyst.

Microsoft Corp. Thursday night took a direct shot at its rival, Apple Inc., in a new television ad that pitched Windows PCs as lower priced than Macs.

The ad, the first in a new campaign dubbed "Laptop Hunters" and created by Microsoft's ad agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, follows a woman identified only as Lauren as she shops for a laptop. Lauren, who wanted a notebook with "speed, a comfortable keyboard and a 17-inch screen" for under US$1,000, was given the money and told she could keep whatever she didn't spend on the laptop.

After a quick trip to a Los Angeles Apple retail store, Lauren walks out, disappointed because the only system for under $1,000 sported only a 13-in. screen. Apple's only MacBook for less than $1,000 is the white-case MacBook, a holdover from the previous generation, which was largely superseded by the new unibody notebooks introduced in October 2008.

"I would have to double my budget, which isn't feasible," Lauren later says as she drives to a Best Buy to look at Windows laptops. "I'm just not cool enough to be a Mac person."

"This is effective advertisement, and I haven't seen many effective advertisements from Microsoft," said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Inc. who covers Apple.

Crispin Porter + Bogusky, which also created the unusual, some called them "baffling," ads starring comedian Jerry Seinfeld and former CEO Bill Gates, recruited Lauren, and another prospective computer shopper that will be featured in coming ads, through Craigslist.

At the Best Buy, Lauren browses the notebook aisles, and finally settles on a Hewlett-Packard Co. system, a Pavilion DV7-1245DX for $699.

"This one has all my qualifications, I'm gonna buy this one," Lauren says as she points to the Pavilion. At the checkout, she crows: " I got everything for under $1,000!"

The ad debuted Thursday night on CBS during the network's broadcast of the NCAA basketball tournament, but clips can be found on the Internet, including YouTube.

"People are looking at price," said Stephen Baker, a retail analyst with The NPD Group Inc., when asked what he thought of the new ad. "Consumers today, unlike a year ago perhaps, don't care about value if value comes at an additional cost," said Baker. "And this ad highlights Microsoft's competitive advantage today. They highlighted the value proposition of Windows versus Mac."

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags microsoft ad

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?