The Get a Mac ads have been running from 2006. I find it heartening that an advertiser is backing a campaign consistently and hasn’t tinkered with it for nearly 3 years now. Agencies too are known to get bored with a theme and change messages frequently. In that context, kudos to Apple and TBWA\Media Arts Lab. It has obviously delivered results in the marketplace and even won the Grand Effie Award for advertising effectiveness in 2007.
The campaign has it’s share of detractors. Every ad posted on YouTube gets vitriolic comments from Windows users. Even some Apple users feel that it’s time to axe the ads – they find the ads irritating and repetitive. The bigger issue seems to be the central premise of showing your competing brand in poor light – it makes Apple a ‘petty’ brand and even one which lacks confidence in it’s strengths. There is some merit in that argument.
In my view, the central premise of this campaign, an extension of the ‘Switcher’s ads (which showed real-life Windows users who were frustrated with the OS) was to create dissonance among the ‘fence-sitting’ Windows users. The arrows in the quiver were a combination of Mac’s strengths and PC’s weaknesses. In fact, the ads that have worked very well are those that highlight the positives of Mac – the MagSafe power chord, for one. Among the ads that poke fun at PC’s problems, the ones that ring true are those that are based on genuine consumer beliefs. The ads focused on all the bloatware common to PCs, Viruses, the annoying UAC would have felt true for most PC users. But when the ads appear to constantly poke fun of Windows, ‘when there is no reason’ it makes the Apple brand seem like a pretentious gas bag…an a@#%hole.
Also, the wind was blowing the wrong way for Vista during it’s initial phase and Apple capitalized on it. With Windows 7 it’s not all bad news for Microsoft. The only chink in Windows 7’s armour might be the cumbersome upgrade for XP users. While Apple made it the subject of an ad, I am not too sure if there are other holes to poke in Windows 7. The PC News ad for example, came across as completely shallow. Even an Apple fan like me thought the ad did nothing to build Apple’s reputation or convert a Windows user. It is ads like these that Apple needs to watch out for.
Should Apple axe the series? I don’t think so. Some of the issues that come to my mind are:
– the premise of a superior Mac will only work as long as there is some dissatisfaction with Windows. It was the case with Windows Vista but not may be so strongly felt with Windows 7
– the role of the Mac guy is totally reduced to an innocent bystander in almost all the Get a Mac ads. The PC guy hogs all the limelight and does the antics while the Mac guy simply watches the fun.
– very few of the ads focus on the positives of Mac. If all the ads simply say that ‘Windows is crap and the world is switching to a Mac’ it will backfire on Apple
Any thoughts on the campaign? Should they be axed? What would you like to change in the campaign? Do comment.