Microsoft revealed the 3rd ad in its “Bargain Hunter” series and in the great tradition of awesome cinematic 3rd installments, this commercial delivers.
Meet Sheila. Sheila is an artist, a filmmaker. She needs to find a performance machine; “…something that’s going to be able to cut video” (notice the ‘term of art’ usage). She has $2,000 or less to accomplish this. She chooses…some shitty HP.
Now granted, her reasoning for not choosing the sub-$2,000 Apple offering is sound: it’s limited by a paltry 2 GB of stock RAM and…well, that’s it.
I’ve refrained from commenting on Microsoft’s recent campaign not only because I’m lazy, but also because Redmond’s been doing a pretty good job making themselves look like assholes. After seeing the 3rd installment of Bargain Hunters, and having cringed through the Mohave and the Seinfeld Experiments, I can offer but one theory to explain Microsoft’s approach to advertising:
Microsoft thinks consumers are fucking retarded.
Let’s take a look at all three of these clever sleight-of-hand campaigns and see if we can extract the take-away for the consumer:
The Mojave Experiment
Premise: consumers are brought in to test Microsoft’s “new” operating system and, after being cattle-penned through specific tasks, are informed that this super-spiffy, next gen OS is actually Vista.
Message: you mindless fucks are so blinded by Vista’s negative publicity, you don’t even know what you’re bashing! See how awesome this is? No, we won’t let you install software. No, we won’t let you experience the upgrade from XP. It puts the lotion in the basket or it gets the hose again!
The Seinfeld Commercials about Nothing
Premise: Bill the lovable nerd and Jerry the adorable pedophile comedian are taken in by the average American family (presumably so they can come to understand what keeps average people from killing themselves). Hijinks ensue, four minutes pass and Bill and Jerry walk off into the sunset, musing about the future of computing.
The Bargain Hunters:
Premise: PCs are cheaper than Macs for at least three cherry-picked categories of computer.
Message: Apple doesn’t make a 17” laptop under $1,000, a computer with a Blu- Ray drive or sub-$2,000 computer with more than 2 GB of RAM stock. And because you’re only buying based on price, and being cool/having a functional OS means nothing to you, your next choice of computer is obvious.
Congratulations, Microsoft. You’ve shown the average consumer that if they’re not quite smart enough to appreciate the OS they inherited with their cheap laptop, are easily distracted/mildly entertained by last decade’s comedic stylings or are not familiar at all with Apple’s offerings, they should own a PC.
The board really should consider taking your advertising budget and giving it back to the shareholders.