Posts Tagged 'ad campaigns'

‘Tis the Season… For Punching Jewelers

The stretch between Thanksgiving Week and New Years Day is my favorite time of the year. It’s festive, there’s a whole different set of music to listen to, people decorate the outside of their homes in festive and sometimes breathtaking ways, and you get to eat lots of really fantastic food.

There are a few drawbacks to the holiday season, though. People out and about in public are grumpier, going shopping means braving the crazed masses, and those awful lawn-balloon decorations. Ms. Jessica over at Female Parts reminded me of yet another. The holiday season overlaps with another season that I refer to as “Jewelry commercial season,” which stretches from a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving all the way to Valentine’s Day. This is when all of the jewelry commercials come out in full force after eight months of hibernation.

These are some of the worst commercials on the face of the planet. They try to be sentimental and touching, but instead they come off as contrived, trite, and ridiculous (see the “PS” in the link posted above). You come to Christmas Day and you think you’re free… But noooooo, you’ve still got another month and a half of unbearable pseudo-sentimentality! Their holiday season culminates in February. I see these ads and the last thing in my mind is rushing out to purchase some jewelry for my wife. Instead, all I want to do is give “Kay” a Glasgow kiss, drop kick anyone who “went to Jared,” and sweep the leg on Vanessa Carlton. Happy friggin’ Holidays.

Advertising Antics

I always find it humorous when advertisers try to take a competitor’s advertising success and try to use it against them. I wrote about one of those a little over a year ago in this post. Microsoft continued to push this line of advertising, attempting to show regular folks who say “I’m a PC,” and then attempt to point out some benefit of using a Windows machine. At first blush, I think that the ads are fairly successful. They’re trying to take that label that the Mac ads created and turn it into something positive. The ads are catchy, upbeat, and some even sport a cute little kid making silly animations regarding Windows 7. That’s great, but the problem I see is that they’re still identifying themselves by their opponent’s rival. Apple continues to drive the advertising game in that regard, and Microsoft gets stuck playing catch up.

The latest effort is a knockoff of the ubiquitous “There’s an app for that” iPhone commercials. This one is from Verizon, and is attempting to highlight the difference between the Verizon and AT&T coverage maps. Yep… “There’s a map for that.” To me, these commercials are even lamer than Microsoft’s. With the “I’m a PC” ads, at least Microsoft takes the Apple ad concept and tries to point out why being “a PC” isn’t a bad thing. Verizon’s latest is just a lame hackjob. “There’s a map for that”?! Really? That’s not even differentiation, it’s just ripping off a successful advertising slogan. Don’t get me wrong, I thought they’ve had some incredibly good and humorous commercials (the “dead zone” ads come to mind), but this one is just plain bad.

The Empire Strikes Back! (or “I’m a PC, and I’ve Been Made Into a Stereotype”)

Recently, Microsoft finally decided to hit back at Apple for the “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” ads. The Mac ads have been around for several years now, so it’s surprising that Gates and Friends decided to wait this long to respond. Apparently, Bill Gates hates the ads. Of course, if I were the creator of Microsoft, I would probably hate the ads too, all the more because the ad campaign’s long-lived and continually has new ideas. At any rate, Microsoft has decided to retaliate with their own “I’m a PC” ad. It begins with someone resembling John Hodgman saying, “Hello, I’m a PC, and I’ve been made into a stereotype.” It also features people talking about their glasses, rings, and a bunch of other people claiming to be PCs. It has several celebrities, noted authors, and artists. The ad seems to be a direct rebuttal to the Mac ads, that PC users are extremely diverse and varied in their experiences and professions.

It starts out with the familiar “I’m a PC” declaration, but then shifts into identifying characteristics. People wear glasses (Bill Gates and a server admin), wear jeans, study genes, design jeans, design green buildings, etc. Tony Parker has three rings. Eva Longoria Parker only has one. Intermittently placed throughout these declarations is someone who says “I’m a PC” again. About midway through and throughout the rest of the commercial, each person states that they are, in fact, a PC. On its face, the ad works well.

The ads certainly are more effective than some of the recent Microsoft ads. In one, you have Jerry Seinfeld running into Bill Gates, who is discount shoe shopping. Seinfeld talks his signature stuff in the ad – nothing. The ad ends with Seinfeld asking Gates if computers will ever be “moist and chewy, like cakes.” Huh?
In another, Microsoft itself implies that its own users are gullible. The ad shows users the new, upcoming Windows “Mojave” OS. The users are unsurprisingly wow’ed by the operating system. Then it’s revealed that the operating system that they’re using is actually Windows Vista, not an unreleased version. I’ve personally used some of the features that are mentioned in the ad, and they annoy the fire out of me. The “Security” feature? You mean the one that pops up and asks you if you want to allow virtually everything that you do on the web? Please.

The latest ad, though, is much more effective at showing “PC” users as a broad group that have varying interests and purposes for their PCs. It’s true that PCs are in much wider use than Macs. The availability of software for Macs just doesn’t compare to that of PCs. As a recent convert from PC to Mac, I’ve missed the availability of games for PCs. But, beyond all of that, there’s a problem with the commercial, at least in my mind. It completely misses the point.
The point of the Get A Mac ads isn’t to point out the singularity of PC users themselves. The ads take aim directly at Microsoft Windows itself (though they have occasionally taken shots at the total package, the target remains Microsoft). The ads don’t mean that every PC user wears glasses, wears tweed suits, and only uses the computer for spreadsheets and pie charts. Hodgman’s character represents the computer itself, and the problems that the Windows operating system has. The ads were never meant to belittle PC users themselves – why would they? That’s their target market. While the Get a Mac ads are hyperbole to an extent, they’re pretty accurate in how easy it really is to use the Mac OS vs. Windows.

The bottom line? That spiffy new Microsoft ad was made on a Mac. Nice work, fellas.

Speaking of Ad Campaigns…

Chris F. of I Has PC sent me this link in a comment, and I figured I’d post it here. Canadians make some pretty good ads. But, if you look around, they have some really, really disturbing ones too. I saw one during my searches the other day for workplace safety dealing with kitchen grease that just about turned my stomach. And they complain about violence on TV in the U.S.?

Anyway, this one is a good one. Not funny, but good nonetheless.