Over the past couple of days I've talked with a number of people about Microsoft's "I'm just not cool enough to be a Mac person" ad and I've come to the conclusion that Microsoft made two mistakes in this ad.
So what are these two mistakes?
Mistake #1 - Setting the price point at $1,000
A $1,000 is a lot of dough to people in the current climate, and the ad hits us with this upper limit price 7 seconds in. I'm guessing that a lot of people switched off by that point before getting to the meat of the ad. On top of that, the $1,000 upper limit was also a bad idea given that the final system cost under $700 (I'd have set the limit at $750 given that outcome) and that it allowed Apple to sneak in a system priced at that upper limit (thus telling people that Apple have a notebook for $1,000).
Mistake #2 - Not hammering home the cost of a comparable Apple system
I think that the ad stumbles big style when it comes to handling the price difference between a 17-inch Mac system and the system that the red-headed Lauren ultimately buys from Best Buy.
In the ad Lauren says that in order to buy a Mac she'd have to double her budget of $1,000 if she was to be "cool enough to be a Mac person". In reality a 17-inch MacBook Pro costs $2,799, so she'd need to triple her budget. Out it another way, she could have bought four of the notebooks she picked for that price. Most people would consider $2,800 to be a lot of cash and the contrast between the HP system and the MacBook Pro system.
How will Apple respond?
A few of you have asked me how I think Apple will respond to this ad. While Apple could take the total cost of ownership and tot up how much antivirus software and an Office suite adds to the cost. After all, Mac users are happy to run their Macs without security software and get iLife for free. That said, I don't think that Apple will take this route because it'll seem that the company is price sensitive, and any retaliatory ad would only draw attention to the original ad.
My guess is that Apple will take this one on the chin and let it slide. Anything else puts the company on a defensive, reactionary footing.