Even us folks here at MacPoker.com have rolled our eyes a few times at the endless supply of “I’m a Mac and I’m a PC” commercials glorifying the use and friendliness of Macs and the cumbersomeness of Windows PCs. Although these ads are a little misleading (it’s a Mac commercial after all), it’s fair to say that they were a stroke of genius and helped Apple gain ground in the home PC market. The failed “Jerry Seinfeld” PC commercials have come and gone, but the new “I’m a PC” commercials have been met with some consumer fanfare.
A particularly brilliant ad from the folks at Microsoft follows the quest of a young lady to get a solid laptop that has adequate speed, a comfortable keyboard, and a 17″ screen for $1,000 or less. She walks into the “Mac Store” as she calls it (a.k.a. the Apple Store) and walks out bummed because the only laptop they have for under $1,000 is an older model with a tiny 13″ screen. She ends up at Best Buy and gets a 17″ HP Pavilion laptop for $699.99 and got “everything she wanted” for under a grand. She leaves with her new laptop extremely happy and closes the journey mission accomplished.
This ad is rumored to be the first in a long line of upcoming ads for Microsoft by Crispin Porter + Bogusky (CP+B), which has clearly hit the mark following its colossal miss with the Seinfeld/Bill Gates ads. However, is the ad fair and should we Mac people get our torches and burn down Bellevue, Washington? Let’s compare what is on the Apple Store with the HP website to see what we can buy for a typical home laptop purchase.
Here’s what I am shopping for:
15″ screen, Microsoft Office Software, minimum Core 2 Duo CPU, 2GB RAM, 250GB hard drive
Going through to the Apple Store, I was able to piece together this system:
Refurbished MacBook Pro 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo CPU, 15.4″ Screen, 2GB Memory, 250GB Hard Drive, MS Office 2008 for Mac. Cost : $1,848.95 / New : $2,133.95
Then I went to HP’s website…
HP DV6T Laptop (new) with 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo CPU, 16″ screen, 2GB Memory, 250GB Hard Drive, Microsoft Office 2007. Cost : $1,068.99
For the exact same “hardware,” we see that the Mac doesn’t even come close in price. When comparing two new models, it’s literally double the price. Double! In these times, it looks like Microsoft has finally found a marketing message that works and speaks to consumers.
Clearly, if you are going to give a person two hours with each laptop and rate them purely on user experience, pre-built software (iPhoto, iMovie, etc), and overall operating system stability, there would be only one winner (assuming Bill Gates himself isn’t being asked to be this person) in Apple’s MacBook Pro. However if you look at a simplified equation of Consumer Happiness = Hardware + Usability + Price Point, there is no question that the HP/Windows laptop would rank higher.
It’s time that Apple recognized that they have positioned themselves as a luxury PC brand and that the commercials they were so noted for might be the very reason why people don’t buy Apple laptops or desktops during the rest of the 2009 calendar. During tough economic times, there’s absolutely no extra money to be floating around for fancy show-off items like luxury PCs.
It’s hard to justify to someone if you took on the role of Apple-enabler (which we assume you do) to spend twice the amount for the equivalent solution. How could that conversation possibly go? “Look Eddie, I know you want a new laptop, but you really should buy the Apple MacBook Pro. I know it’s double the price. Yes, it all has pretty much the same software, but you have to admit Vista sucks. Okay, spend that extra $1,000! What? It’s not that much of a headache? Fine, be a PC noob!”
It’s time that Mac people concede our commercials may not be totally true. We just have to admit that PC users have it better when it comes to pricing as well as gaming. It seems that the once inept ad agency CP+B has woken up a sleeping giant (or at least found a new director in charge of the Microsoft account). Will Apple respond? Not without a new line of value priced hardware, something that diminishes the brand and has been sworn off by countless Apple executives.
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