AdAge reports that in the Mac vs. PC battle, Microsoft is winning in value perception.
Based on daily interviews of 5,000 people, BrandIndex found the 18-34 age group gave Apple its highest rating in late winter, when it notched a value score of 70 on a scale of -100 to 100 (a score of zero means that people are giving equal amounts of positive and negative feedback about a brand). But its score began to fall shortly after and, despite brief rallies, hovers around 12.4 today. Microsoft, on the other hand, has risen from near zero in early February to a value-perception score of 46.2.
All of this attributed to the Laptop Hunters campaign, created by Crispin Porter & Bogusky. Like with most on the Mac vs. PC subject the article at AdAge has triggered a heated ‘for & against’ debate. My take on this is simple: among product claims guaranteed to work, ‘cheap’ is the second best (‘free’ being the first). By nature, it is bound to attract the majority. And in times like these, doubly so. So it is no surprise that such ‘survey’s show preferences for PCs. The master stroke was in converting this into a ‘great value’ perception vis-a-vis Mac. Instead of stopping at ‘this is cheaper’, the proposition of ‘you can save more’ appeals to the majority – which is anyway PC-dominated. I am not getting into the ‘which is really cheaper’ argument here, but the premise is likely to touch a chord, specially in India. Suffice to say that an Apple is not for everyone; for most regular computer PC
This Mac vs PC war is not new. Check this ad (or is it editorial content?) from a 1996 issue of MacAddict. (Via Techblog).
While Apple has been going at PCs with their ‘Get a Mac’ campaign since 2006. But by resorting to the same tactic, they are giving credibility to Apple, a much smaller competitor. Check out this interesting article from Fortune. Some have also wondered about what Microsoft is really selling in the Laptop Hunters ad. Microsoft is a software company – but, instead of selling their OS, they are plugging their OEM’s hardware. I guess when a PC buyer buys a brand, any brand, if something goes wrong he usually curses the OS, not the hardware brand. To that extent, they are hardwired. But the reason for not focusing on the OS could be something else – the accepted belief that Vista is a failure. Bottom line: the laptop hunters may have delivered short term results. But questions remain about it’s long term effectiveness.