Sunday, May 23, 2010
I learned today that the PC versus MAC ad campaign is over...and Consumerist suggests that its partly because the PC 'family/office' guy was just too charming to make their 'with-it' Cool Dude come off as favorably as they would have liked. Too "Smug" was how they described 'Mac.' Maybe their personal experiences with some Apple fans or Steve Job's rep have colored their thinking. I didn't see MAC actor as all that smug. He seemed to have some friendly feeling toward the other fella, even a little embarrassed when he knew the answers he had to give would make the other fella feel bad. That's what made the series of ads soooo cute.
This is not to say the series of ads didn't have some flaws. What I saw was a failure to communicate several major truths...the Apple isn't just about 20's-40's yuppies / techies creatively playing with their machine.
1) Apple machines have been GREAT for kids and educating generally. Didn't they have the first grade school programs?
2) Apple had the first big business software on a small computer - VisiCalc- and can still hold its own
3) Many techies have said they loved their fruity machines because of their reliability and robust performance in rendering data and images.
4) Apple's focus on making their products work intuitively 'right out of the box' makes them a fantastic computer for older people too.
5) The non-techie conservative middle-aged office guys I've known would have appreciated an Apple just fine, given the chance to run one, as long as they were also given the impression that their custom would be appreciated...
Also - many of the 'points' they make have obvious answers:
1) PCs are all over the map with performance and reliability, because every machine is a different configuration. What Mac was calling a "PC" apparently meant "Windows" OEM package experience w/ HP/Dell/Gateway etc ...because...
2) You can add all varieties of boot-up abilities out of the box with a custom-built pc. You can also have webcams, zip drives, &; other handy stuff setup for you. You don't have to have a bunch of stupid trials on it either. All options are open to those who build their own...
3) Many of the other brags (resistance to viruses and spyware) could also apply to computers running Linux, something Apple never addressed.
4) PCs can be built up or down, meaning that some are bound to be better than 'pre-set' Apples at certain tasks, including video editing....and didn't I hear that
5) ...the other big difference, the Mac OS, is now often being put on regular computers? Apple hasn't okayed this as yet, but many people are hoping they will finally relent and make the OS generally available to other types of computers. I do too.
IMHO 'Cancel or Allow' was definitely about Vista versus Leopard...not every style of computer in the world except for hardware Macs. Everyone knew it. It was one of their most amusing ads, but its mislabeled.
I personally believe that Apple's Leopard could still be a real rival for 'World's Favorite OS' - but if they do it will probably be as a result of allowing big name providers to ship with it, and this is likely to hurt some of that iron-clad reliability rep they enjoy. Then again, they are already getting a taste of shoe-from -the-other-foot...and I am sure it tastes as much like dirt as when Microsoft first got one upside the head. I am referring to the fact that Apple is now big enough to be getting some of the security attack flak from the real bad guys out in the world, especially stuff aimed at iPods, iPads, & iPhones...but also Apple computers. You still don't have as much risk as you do with the world's most common OS, but there is reason now to get security upgrades. Not everything Microsoft OS machines fight with is all their fault. There are always more security hazards when you are the biggest potentially profitable target. It would have looked better if the Mac ads had granted this point more graciously, because everybody already knows this. Besides, it could be Apple's turn one day.
I kinda hope they bring these guys back after a bit. maybe once Apple has rethought a few things.
You know...a lot of people think of themselves as both Apple & PC. Everyone loves the iPods and iPhones. Many households/offices have both Macs & Windows machines. Many more people would like to be Apple people but lack the moola or can't find a Mac port of their favorite programs. [The increasing ability of the Macs to run Windows programs has improved this situation, but more is needed.]
I started my computing life with AppleIIe and AppleIIc. Like many of my generation, I still have HUGE warm fuzzies for the Apple brand, but I could never afford a good one...which is why I am still a PC, however reluctantly. In all honesty, however, a number of my PCs have been very good to me, very reliable, especially the HP packages. They've earned some appreciation in our household too [though not enough to make us buy a Vista machine :P]
Remember Hewlett-Packard, Apple? The guys the great Woz started out working with? The company that gave Steve Jobs some of his first breaks as a kid?
When you come down to it both guys in the ads could have worked for HP, Microsoft, Apple, Dell, or about anybody... The actors didn't really define the average users of either machine. I suspect both the capable IT guy and the charming business manager would be very popular in their own departments. They seem like real nice guys. ;-)