The increasingly hostile climate around the US presidential election seems to have seeped into the blossoming Apple vs. Microsoft ad war. The latest salvo comes from Apple, with a pair of new ads in their successful “Get a Mac” campaign that casts the Daily Show’s John Hodgman as the nerdy, out of touch PC and actor Justin Long as the hip, young Mac.
The problem with the new ads is that rather than pointing out problems with Windows or talking up what’s great about OS X, they instead take aim at Microsoft’s new $300 million advertising campaign — and not on merit, but on, er, price tag? The problem is that they might be just a bit too much inside baseball for the general public, they’re hypocritical, and they’re, well, mean-spirited rather than informative.
The first new ad pokes fun at Microsoft for trying to fix the image problems around Vista through marketing, accusing Microsoft of spending $300 million on a new ad campaign rather than putting that money toward Vista.
It’s kind of hypocritical, though, given how pervasive Apple advertising has been over the past few years. It’s hard to turn on a TV these days without seeing either a “Get a Mac,” iPod or iPhone advertisement, which also show up on high profile web sites and in many magazines. In fact, Apple spent $467 million advertising in 2007, while Microsoft spent $1.3 billion — about three times as much, but the company has a wider product line and makes a lot more money. Microsoft’s ad spending actually dropped slightly this year.
Microsoft also spent more on R&D — a lot more — $7.1 billion to Apple’s $782 million last year. As a percentage of revenue, Microsoft ponies up 14% on research and development, Apple spends about 3% of its net sales income on R&D. Again, though, Microsoft has a wider product line and Apple could argue that Microsoft has more to fix.
Facts and figures aside, the point is that Apple’s new ads feel like inside jokes that don’t really do much to sell me on the Mac and just seem sort of mean. They’re definitely both funny, but they paint Apple as an elitist bully that’s out of touch with what consumers care about rather than the lovable underdog, in my opinion. Is that really what they’re going for now? Or perhaps these ads meant to just play to the Apple base? (To borrow some phraseology from the political sphere.)
What do you think about the new Mac ads? Let us know in the poll and sound off the in comments below.
Note: We’re aware of the typo in the poll (that should be “hilarious”). Unfortunately, our current WordPress poll plugin doesn’t support the editing of answers once published. We’re planning to switch to the PollDaddy plugin soon.
A second new advert is here.