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Analysis: Microsoft offers "I'm a PC" retort that falls flat

Mat Lu

After canning Seinfeld, Microsoft is now starting stage two (planned all along, they say) of their campaign with a new series of I'm a PC ads by the Crispin, Porter + Bogusky ad agency. As is clear from the John Hodgman look-alike at the start of the ads, they're supposed to be a direct response to Apple's Get a Mac campaign that's been running since 2006.

It almost goes without saying that it's rather sad for one of the richest companies in the world to stoop to this level of reaction. But I think one of things that's interesting here is the difference between the central motifs of the respective ad campaigns. What Get a Mac suggests is that your Mac is your kinda cool, but laid-back and easy-going friend that'll help you get things done. In other words, your Mac is your friend, not who you yourself are.

On the other hand, the I'm a PC ads say exactly that: you (the user) are a PC. Who the heck would want to be that? What they're trying to maintain is that PC users are unfairly being stereotyped as besuited, boring, glasses-wearing losers. But with the repeated exclamation "I'm a PC," the ads actually suggest a kind of Borg-like insistence that I as a user have to be assimilated into my computer.

In short, Microsoft and its ad agency still don't get it. We Mac-heads don't see ourselves as all being Justin Long (or, heaven forbid, wanting to be Justin Long). I can proudly say I'm not a Mac, and I'm not really planning to become one either. Or to put it another way: I use a Mac in no small part because I don't want to be a computer (Mac or PC).

What's your take?

(The three ads can be seen on YouTube: Pride, Not Alone, and Stereotype.)

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