Another advertising blunder from Microsoft

photo credit: paulgalipeauWow, Crispin, Porter & Bogusky are one seriously hot creative shop. What amazing ideas they come up with. I wish I had enough money to hire such geniuses to do my advertising.

OK, enough sarcasm. I was mildly amused by the Bill Gates and Seinfeld ads last year, though anyone who watched Seinfeld knows he always had a Mac in his apartment, so that one was a clear fail, to anyone it might have appealed to. Then the “I’m a PC” campaign that was the advertising equivalent of a huge guy asking a small judo expert to throw him on the ground. Now we’re presented with an ad that has so many different ways to be ridiculed it’s astounding (maybe they’re trying to illustrate the versatility of Windows?).

There’s been a slew of criticism of this campaign in the blogosphere, but just in case you’ve been living under a rock, the Lauren ad is the first execution of the Laptop Hunters campaign:

Laptop Hunter, Lauren

Lauren is an actress. Whilst Microsoft don’t state that she’s just ‘someone they grabbed off the street’, it’s not exactly explicit, and she was booked for the gig ahead of time. Read Lauren’s news page and the ad agency even misled her it seems.

There are numerous technical things you could pick a hole in – the $699.99 price tag for the PC she chooses – where’s the state sales tax? (the ad was shot in California), there’s even a video on YouTube showing that Lauren didn’t even go into the Apple Store.

Just this weekend the second execution in the campaign has broken, starring “Giampaolo”, they give him $1500 to spend on a laptop, he comes away with, wait for it, another HP. Maybe he’s another actor, or maybe Microsoft learnt from their mistake with Lauren. I doubt it. The killer line in this one, “Macs to me are about aesthetics more than they are about the computing power”. So, we’re admitting they look better but you’re implying that they’re not as fast as PCs?

Let’s leave all the disingenuousness aside, because let’s face it, it’s an ad, and consider instead, the premise of the ad itself. All it says is ‘Windows PCs are cheaper than Macs’. Yes, and Linux equipped PCs are cheaper than Windows PCs too. Where are you going with this campaign Microsoft (or CP+B)? OpenOffice is cheaper than Microsoft Office. If your only refuge is “we’re uglier and less cool but at least we’re cheaper than the other guys” there’s only one way this can end.

photo credit: paulgalipeau