Mac vs PC Comparative Ads

by Jonathan Marshall

It was bound to happen, eventually I was going to talk about the Mac vs. PC comparative ads, and since Mac finally came out with their latest rebuttal, here we go. If you turn on any prime time show today, you can be sure that you will come across the omnipresent “I’m a Mac and I’m a PC” commercials that have so many YouTube parodies that the originals now almost seem like the parodies. Microsoft has launched its own rebuttal to the Mac comparative ads with an absolutely useless campaign with a spot by Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates buying shoes that simply confused and annoyed people. What creative agency came up with that quality effort??

However, all major players, Microsoft included, have remained silent to the Mac ads that seem to roll out on a monthly basis. Now that’s what I don’t understand?? Even though there are many players in the PC arena that are also getting stepped on by the constant verbal destruction of PCs and their many problems, no one other than Microsoft seems to step up and challenge Mac. Where are all of the other PC brands? Do they not have a backbone? Why wouldn’t they all gang up and hit Mac from all angles?

Maybe the Mac vs PC comparative ads can be better understood if we take a look at older comparative ads from past companies. There are many, many case studies of companies running comparative ads and succeeding. There are tons of comparative ads for Accord and Camry, and they are always throwing their cheaper, domestic foes under the bus. Then, on a more local level, we have COX vs AT&T, and that seems to have some longevity and help COX out as the respective attacker. The initial attacker usually seems to come out ahead in the end. However, like political careers, it’s a game changer when the relentless attacker’s armor is pierced with a quality rebuttal. Take the former Governor of New York, Elliot Spitzer for example. Spitzer made news when he brought down several prostitution rings serving as the state Attorney General. Of course, his career was instantly over the minute Spitzer himself had relations with one of the prostitutes that he took down… but I digress… back to Mac.

There is already a descent amount of concern over the validity of some of the Mac commercials. Many people question their evidence and ability to claim that PC’s don’t have the security that Macs do. But even though the FTC is getting involved and investigating some of Mac’s claims, the PC world remains silent, still. Why??? Newsflash to the PC world – Mac is not going to have sexual relations with a prostitute and go down in flames… (actual motivation for bringing up the Elliot Spitzer comparison revealed) in case that is what you are all waiting for. Sorry to ruin the suspense.

Right now this is still not a battle, it’s a full-on domination by Mac, but when the armor is finally pierced it will be an all out online reputation war that makes these current comparative ads seem civil. It would be one thing if it were soup, but when you are talking computers, the catalyst to the internet, it could be WWI on the internet. And it’s getting close, Microsoft has finally hired a legitimate advertising agency and their new spots are gaining more and more popularity. Already we are seeing some success with Microsoft’s “Laptop Hunters” campaign, but eventually they will come up with the bullet that pierces Mac’s armor and there will be war.