The roots of the “Ad wars” began years ago when Apple first launched a smarmy commercial spot — the first “Get a Mac” commercial, which depicted Windows PCs as inept and ineffectual, a message made especially insulting given that many interpreted the PC character as a caricature of Microsoft founder Bill Gates. After a few years of ad beatings, Microsoft decided to respond in like with its laptop hunter commercials, which featured normal Joes and Janes eschewing Macs due to their high prices, in favor of bargain PCs (and often making snide comments about Macs in the process).
The ads were certainly effective in stirring up the internet tech community and they officially kicked off what can only be described as “ad wars”. Now, on heels of criticism of the Microsoft commercials by an Apple spokesperson and pro-Apple blogger, Apple has launched its own counterstrike against Microsoft, airing four new “Get a Mac” commercials.
The commercials feature the tried and true odd couple of John Hodgeman and Justin Long. The banter is as witty as ever, if a bit vague and factually inaccurate.
The first ad “Biohazard Suit” depicts PC wearing a biohazard suit in a desperate attempt to avoid viruses, while Mac remains unconcerned. This ad plays to the fact that Apple’s OS layer is still rarely targeted by hackers (despite a growing level of application level hacks). The second one, “Legal Copy” features a Pinocchio-eque PC elaborating on how he is superior, while a legal disclaimer grows below.
The third commercial “Stacks” is perhaps the best of the bunch, as it provides a relatively straightforward presentation of an Apple feature, rather than vague aspersions. The commercial features PC sifting through massive piles of pictures. Mac explains that with iPhoto, you can use facial recognition to shorten such searches.
The last commercial, though, goes to the other extreme, leveling unclear accusations against Windows. The commercial, titled “Time Machine” features PC trying to communicate with his future self by traveling in a time machine. When he asks his future self if his “crashing issues” have been fixed, future PC freezes. The ad will likely rile many as both Windows Vista and Windows 7 rarely freeze or crash (no more than OS X, at least). When they do, it’s generally drivers related, problems which are the law of averages, in that there frequency is only due to the vast number of PCs on the market. With less Macs in the wild, there’s less boxes for faulty drivers to crash.
Even if the ads do come off a bit slanted though, as the Microsoft ads do, to some extent, it seems only fair that Apple gets its response. With commercials like this taking several months to develop, they are likely not a direct response to the Laptop Hunter spots, but they are certainly Apple’s countershot. Ad wars are officially on, and tech fans should have plenty to keep them excited (or irritated) in months to come.
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