Tuesday, September 23, 2008
What everyone is saying about "I'm a PC"
Now that I've gotten the whole Jerry Seinfeld/Bill Gates thing out of my system, time to move onto Microsoft's "I'm a PC" commercial, which has picked up on the buzz-o-meter where Bill Gates doing the robot left off. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which cares intensely about these things, has a roundup piece culling commentary from TechCrunch, AdRants and others. Most, not surprisingly, think the "I'm a PC" effort is a failure. Says Jason Kottke: "If MS had created the 'I'm a PC' message on their own, the ads would be great, but these copy-and-paste ads lack soul and are merely 'eh'." OK, you didn't ask, but what do I think? I think it's great that Microsoft finally, several years into the Apple campaign, got direct about the ad campaign that's done so much to undermine its image. It's surprising, actually, that it took Microsoft so long to hit the Mac campaign right between the eyes; the only part I would lose is at the opening. There's really no need for the John Hodgman doppelganger at the beginning to say "I've been made into a stereotype." The rest of the commercial gets that message across quite clearly, without the sour-grapes declaration of it. I suspect that the people who say the campaign is a failure are the same people who deride those of us who use PCs. As much as I love the "I'm a Mac" ads, portraying me as a dumb PC user has always grated on me. And before I start to get comments from all of you Mac lovers out there, there's certain software I need to use from time to time that doesn't run well on Macs, so, hey, call me a loser, but I'm staying where I am. It's interesting to ponder how Microsoft and Crispin, Porter + Bogusky could simultaneously have been producing one campaign that was anything but on point (i.e. the Seinfeld/Gates ads), and another that hits its problem right where it lives. I suspect they both knew how out there the Seinfeld campaign might appear, and had the "I'm a PC" ad in the can, ready to go, if the other one flopped, which, of course, it did.