AdAge is reporting on the aftermath of Microsoft COO Kevin Turner gloating about getting a call from Apple's lawyers asking them to stop running the 'Laptop Hunters' Mom/Lauren ad because it inaccurately represented Apple's pricing. Guess what: Microsoft has since run an altered version of the ad.
In the original, Lauren (not that Lauren) is after a laptop with "...speed, portability and battery life for under $1,700." Here you go, Lauren. While shopping, she says, "This Mac is $2,000, and that's before adding anything." In the current version (see video after the break), she simply says "It seems like you're paying a lot for the brand," but mentions no actual price.
Lauren ends up with a 13-inch, $972 Dell XPS. When the ad began to run, Apple had not yet announced the 13-inch MacBook Pro, so the Dell was compared to the more expensive 15-inch model. Since then, Apple released the 13-inch MacBook Pro, which starts at $1,199. Hence Microsoft's having to alter the copy of the ad.
Of course, if you equip the XPS to match the 13-inch MBP, it eliminates nearly all cost difference as well as Apple-exclusive features like the 7-hour battery life. And, you know, Mac OS X.
There are two take-aways here. First, women named Lauren love PCs. Second, if you advertise that your stuff is all cheap crap, don't be surprised when your revenues drop 17%. Pricing sends a message that consumers hear loud and clear. The CDs in the discount bin at Sam Goody are no different than the full-priced ones, but consumers perceive them as less desirable. Small wonder, then, that nine out of every $10 spent on $1K+ "premium" laptops at retail goes into Apple's pocket.