Countering Apple's ad campaign

Countering Apple's ad campaign

Summary: A recent addition to Apple's Mac advertising campaign features Mac guy speaking to "fat Windows." Windows complains about coming pre-loaded with a bunch of "trialware" applications that he doesn't need, and he has to go on the Operating System equivalent of a diet before the system is usable.


A recent addition to Apple's Mac advertising campaign features Mac guy speaking to "fat Windows." Windows complains about coming pre-loaded with a bunch of "trialware" applications that he doesn't need, and he has to go on the Operating System equivalent of a diet before the system is usable. Mac guy counters that he doesn't have that problem, as he only comes with software that people want, like iPhoto, Garage Band and iTunes. That's kind of funny, as I wasn't aware that people ONLY wanted Apple software.

But, fair play to Apple, as the ad campaign does its job quite well. Apple wants to spin fewer software options, or the fact that not many third party companies are beating down Apple's door to get themselves preinstalled in the first place (even if Apple would let them), into a competitive advantage.

Equally fair would be a Microsoft counter advertisement. So, included for your reading pleasure is a proposed response to Apple's ad campaign. If I was involved in Microsoft's marketing department, I'd want to see something like this. So, Microsoft, I do work for you, I live in Los Angeles, and I'm a crackerjack HD camera operator.


Mac guy drives his car into the driveway of an apartment building. He is well dressed in expensive designer clothes, and the car is an expensive-looking luxury vehicle (juxtaposition to his real life, implying a tendency to buy flashy things). Before exiting the car, he pops the hood, then walks around to the back and opens the trunk. He retrieves a small, brightly colored box. He walks around to the front of the car, lifts the hood to a locked position, and opens the box. Inside are a hammer, a screw driver, a wrench, and a single socket from a socket wrench set (visual touch: the handle of each tool is decorated with flowers). Pan back for a shot of the engine, which clearly can't be fixed with that selection of tools.


Windows guy drives his car into a driveway of a house (versus an apartment). His car doesn't look as fancy as Mac guy's car, but is something more functional...say a Volkswagon. He, too, pops the hood of his car, then walks around to the back and opens the trunk. Oddly, he steps into the trunk, and the camera rises to reveal a set of stairs that descends into the ground (it's a magic trunk, but you can do that in video). We follow him down and find ourselves in a very large warhehouse filled with tools. We dolly alongside him as aisles marked with names specifying categories of tools scroll by. He stops at a row labeled "socket wrenches," and the camera moves in to reveal an impossibly long aisle featuring all shapes and sizes of socket wrenches and attachments.


Windows:  More Options


Microsoft (the logo)

[NOTE:  Thanks to j.m. galvin who gave me ideas as to how I could tune things]

Topic: Apple

John Carroll

About John Carroll

John Carroll has delivered his opinion on ZDNet since the last millennium. Since May 2008, he is no longer a Microsoft employee. He is currently working at a unified messaging-related startup.

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  • More options? Hardly

    Considering that the Mac can run Windows, all those lovely options you describe are just as available for Mac owners as well.

    Care to try again?

    And do you really think that people are happy with all of those crippled trial-ware programs that come with a new PC? It's not like they're usable without paying extra.
    tic swayback
    • I discovered the game "Descent"

      ...because of Trial ware, and have used at least some of them.

      Yes, Mac can run Windows, but Mac isn't really promoting itself in those ads as a product that runs Windows. If everyone ran out an put Windows on their Mac, I'm sure Microsoft would be very happy.

      I have a friend who is a mac fan who finds himself spending less and less time in Mac OS after installing XP.
      John Carroll
      • Amazing how ignorant some people can be

        [i]Mac isn't really promoting itself in those ads as a product that runs Windows.[/i]

        Most of the ads (like the one I just saw a few minutes ago about "cryptic error messages") are firmly targeted at Windows and not at the PC. This is why I laugh and I laugh at those zealots who use the "Apple is a hardware company" defense. If so, why are they spending millions of dollars frantically trying to convince people that [b]Windows[/b] (a piece of software last time I checked) is bad, bad, bad. Even more ironic is that the left side of Apple's mouth is "Windows is bad" but the left side is saying "Pay us $30 for the privilege of running Windows". And the Mac zealots just lap it up. Beaten wives indeed!!
        • Yes, they can be ignorant...

          The reason most people buy a PC is to run Windows. The reason to buy a Mac is to
          run OS X, not Windows.

          The whole point of Boot Camp is to allow those people who do have the occasional
          need for Windows to be able to run it on their Mac hardware instead of having to
          buy a separate PC. That's the reason programs like SoftWindows existed for years
          and why Parellels and VMWare Fusion exist now.

          If you simply want computer running Windows, yes buying a Mac is not the
          smartest choice. Apple isn't trying to get you to buy a Mac to do that. They are
          simply providing an option for people who want the capability to run Windows and
          don't want to go to a 3rd party option to do it.
        • what?

          first what is the $30 for? Never saw Apple ask for money to run Windows on the
          machines they sell....

          They spend money to compare the full package that they sell to the most common
          full package that people buy. Apple is a hardware company... they are also a
          software company... and a music company... and.... why does anyone say they can
          only be one kind of company? They can be multiple kinds, and run in sync to
          benefit everything they do, not have one department trying to sacrifice another

          Apple basically says running Windows is bad, but if you really really want to, its
          possible.... they don't charge you to run it... no idea where you got that crazy idea.
      • One out of how many?

        ---I discovered the game "Descent"---

        Okay, that's one that you like. How many did you delete? What's the ratio?

        ---Yes, Mac can run Windows, but Mac isn't really promoting itself in those ads as a product that runs Windows---

        So? They're also not promoting quantity over quality, which seems to be the point of your alternative ad. Buy a Windows machine because there are more redundant tools to do the same things. Great, I can choose from 20 spreadsheet programs instead of 10. That will really improve my life.

        ---If everyone ran out an put Windows on their Mac, I'm sure Microsoft would be very happy.---

        As would Apple. A win:win situation, everybody's happy. That's something to remember, this is not a zero sum game. Both sides can win. If the whole world goes Mac, the number one piece of software for those Macs will be Office.
        tic swayback
      • Mac to Win switcher?

        Sorry, but that's just really hard to believe! There's a GOOD reason that many say, "Once on a Mac, never go back!"
      • Aren't promoting themselves

        You really are terribly uninformed John.
      • for the learning deficient

        Apple isn't comparing operating systems in their Mac ads, they are comparing full
        packages. Even the commercial you site is not about Windows, its about all the
        junk OEMs put on the Windows boxes that they sell.

        People that don't understand Apples business always make this mistake. Apple
        sells a whole complete product, not just a part of a product. Most people buy PCs
        from some big OEM that also sells a complete product (including Windows)...
        Apple compares themselves against the most common type of PC sold as a whole.

        PS. that type of "I have a Mac friend who.." statements should be dropped, as that
        makes people question your motives and information. The same would be true if
        it was a negative Windows comment about your "Windows loving" friend.
      • Not really Mac Vs Vista but vs the OEMs

        I've always felt the Mac ads were about hardware. PC vs Mac. It's never been Windows vs OS X. The one PC vs Mac comercial that really highlights this is when the PC guy is going in for surgery to get Vista. That's the point I get from the comercials. The PC isn't good enough to run Vista and has to go get surgery in order to run it.

        Really Apple is missing the target with it's ads. They shouldn't be picking on Microsoft. They should be aiming at Dell or HP. They should play up the fact that Vista will run on a Mac. Do that and really Microsoft isn't even a competitor. Microsoft just boosts Mac sales. Then with the Mac out there the two operating systems are just a choice the Mac customer gets that the PC customer doesn't.

        I've used Trial ware but I install it. I don't want it pre-installed. Agains that's a poke at OEMs not Microsoft.

        Since everyone says the biggest reason Apple doesn't sell OS-x for the PC is because they are hardware company first and software second then Microsoft is nothing but a bonus to Apple as the Mac being able to run Vista means more people may purchase Apple hardware.
    • And why is that?

      "Considering that the Mac can run Windows, all those lovely options you describe are just as available for Mac owners as well."

      And why is it that the Mac can run Windows but the majority of PCs can't run OSX?

      Carl Rapson
      • There's a reason PC's can't run OS X...

        Because Apple specifically makes it so that you can't run OS X on regular PC
        hardware. They aren't just trying to sell you OS X - they are trying to sell you the
        Mac hardware. That's where they are making the money. That's also why Microsoft
        has to constantly coerce people to buy or upgrade Windows and their MS apps -
        they don't make any money if someone simply buys a new computer and puts
        their old copy of Windows on it.

        While Apple did gouge their customer base for years with hardware that was
        comparitively more expensive, in recent years the price gap has shrunk
        considerably. If you do a comparison of EQUIVALENT hardware (and software in
        some cases), the price gap is not very large or non-existent. PCs still retain that
        image of being cheaper because what is always advertised is the lowest priced
        model which doesn't reflect the less quailty hardware, crippled versions of the OS,
        etc. Apple only has one version of OS X - they don't upcharge if you need the
        "Professional" version. Their XServe hardware looks more expensive on paper until
        you consider the unlimited client-licence versus Windows Server CALs.
      • Oh dear, not this again

        ---And why is it that the Mac can run Windows but the majority of PCs can't run OSX?---

        Because of Apple's chosen business model and licensing terms. Why can't I virtualize the cheapest version of Windows? Same reason. When you start your own company, you get to decide on the terms of usage. They may be fair or unfair, but odds are you are going to base them upon your business model. If your business model involves deriving the majority of your profits from hardware sales, odds are you're not going to open up your product to other hardware manufacturers. If you don't like Apple's terms or can't afford their hardware, well, too bad for you.
        tic swayback
        • No problem with that

          If that's Apple's chosen business model, more power to them. My only complaint is how some people use the fact that a Mac can run Windows as evidence that Apple is more "open". To be equivalent, Microsoft would have to cripple Windows so that it absolutely can't run on Apple hardware. How many people would criticize Microsoft then?

          Carl Rapson
          • I deal in real world practicalities

            Yes, if you want to argue ideology, then you're correct in that Apple would be considered a less "open" system than Windows. But then again, since we don't live in the realm of ideas, I find it best to base decisions based on real world performance, and Apple systems can use a larger, more diverse combination of software than any other system in common use.
            tic swayback
          • Apple as a company?

            Apple as a company more open? well thats a whole different argument. Saying
            Apples computers they sell are more open because they can also run Windows as
            well as Mac OS X is valid. I have yet to hear anyone use the term open in that way
            though. Most I've heard say Macs are more powerful because you can run OSX,
            Linux, and Windows all on them.
    • tic

      So your argument is that (Intel based) Mac users can run Windows too.

      They're buying a Mac for it's superiority in both functionality and security, and on top of paying for the OS and the hardware, they have as many options as the Windows OS *only if* they also buy a license for Windows.

      Is that the argument you really want to support?

      I have no problem with Mac users who happen to think their OS is better than Windows. But those who say 'we're just as good, because we can run your OS too' are just silly.
      • Why is it silly?

        John's position is that Windows is superior because there's more software available to run on it. Since a Mac can run Windows, doesn't that automatically make a Mac the computer to buy, since it can do everything? I do feel the Mac OS is better, but that's a subjective argument. However, it's purely factual to state that the Mac can run more software than can the Windows PC. If that's your criterion for superiority, as John is claiming here.
        tic swayback
        • This is why...

          Because if I were to buy a Mac, I would sure hope it wasn't with the expectation that I would need or want to run Windows on it. Otherwise, I might as well just buy Windows and save myself the hassle and money.
          • Wouldn't you want the option of running both?

            If you bought one, wouldn't it be nice to know if you ran across some odd antiquated piece of software that was Windows-only, you could still run it? Or that you could use OSX full-time and hop over to Windows for the latest games? Seems attractive to me.

            But as I said, I'm just going by the criterion stated in John's ad here.
            tic swayback