Advertising Works!

By  |  Monday, May 18, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Laptop HuntersI still think that Microsoft’s current Laptop Hunters ad campaign for Windows represents an odd combination of stating the obvious (that you can buy a Windows PC with beefy components for a lot less than a Mac) and avoiding the obvious (that operating systems have a gigantic impact on the experience you get from a computer). But if recent research from BrandIndex is to believed, the spots are doing what Microsoft hoped they’d do: convincing people (young people, especially) that Windows computers are a better value than Macs.

Laptop Hunters doesn’t seem to be an ad campaign designed to run for the next decade, or even the next year–the individual commercials are nearly identical except for the shoppers involved, which is why I stopped writing about them after the third entry. (I just ran out out of things to say.) For the record, the most recent two (starring a mom-and-daughter team and an artist) are not only repetitive, but increasingly weird, with an emphasis on the giddy shoppers exulting in the fact that Microsoft has bought them laptops. (Should we make anything of the fact that only one of the five ads so far involves an adult male? I dunno.)

Considering that the current version of Windows is Windows Vista, Microsoft has every incentive to downplay the OS. I assume that when Windows 7 comes out, it’ll return to emphasizing the operating system as a selling point, even if it also continues to play up the value angle and snark at Macs. It’ll be interesting to see if the shift in public opinion apparently reflected in the BrandIndex study continues on even if the ads no longer center on spec comparisons and fistfuls of cash.


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8 Comments For This Post

  1. dantynan Says:

    “Should we make anything of the fact that only one of the five ads so far involves an adult male?”

    short answer: yes. microsoft, like many tech companies, is waking up to the fact that women control most of the $$ spent in this economy, even on so called ‘male’ things like computers. (naturally, my lovely wife can tell you all about it on her blog, I think the selection of ‘hunters’ is very deliberate.



  2. Brian Cox Says:

    Those ads bug me… every time i see the one where the young lady says “I’m a film maker” i say out loud “You are not!” if you were you would already have a mac pro of some sort.

  3. Trine Curtis Says:

    @Brian: I know what you mean, except I have met people like that my whole life. Weirdly enough, mostly women, but that could be *completely coincidental*. They are pre-med, but have just started community college in their 30’s. They are going to study computers in college, but they have never used one yet. They are a film maker, but haven’t ever shot anything yet. It’s like super-optimism and weird naivete. But, hey, good luck to them.

  4. avro Says:

    People who play games think that Windows computers are better value than Macs. People who use computers for their work (writers, film makers, musicians) know that Macs are better value than Windows PCs.

    Go figure :-).

  5. JustCallMeBen Says:

    @avro: PCs simply ARE better value for your money when you get in the gaming segment.

    I have two machines: a desktop for gaming, and a laptop for work. My laptop is a mac: I just think yo can’t beat Macbook in bang for buck when you consider ease of use, durability, specs and design.

    But for my gaming desktop, the only thing that matters is having the best hardware. and right now, for 800$ (I kid you not) I can get a Core2Quad @ 2.4GHz, a Radeon HD4890 (1GB), 4GB RAM (DDR2 1066MHz), 640GB HDD, a superdrive like DVDRW, and all of that in a silent case. I have to admit these are just the parts: I build my machines myself.

    Apple gives me for that same 800$ a mac mini: integrated graphics, 2.0GHz Core2Duo, 2GB RAM (DDR3, but at the same speed: 1066MHz, in benchmarks there’s no difference) and a slow 5400rpm 320GB HDD.
    Ofc the mini isnt about specs but about… being mini, but that’s not the point: Even at higher priceranges you’ll find Macs always cost about twice as much when you’re only looking at specs, which is what gamers do.

    So gamers don’t just “think” PCs are better value: in that segment, that’s just the truth.

  6. Josh Says:

    @JustCallMeBen: I think that’s sort of what Harry is saying. Of course you can buy PCs with better specs for less than a Mac. I also have a custom-built PC for gaming (although this will be my last because consoles are dominating the market and PC games have become tired and stale) but I use Macs for everything else because of the OS. I like Apple’s design aesthetics and I appreciate its attention to detail but, ultimately, it’s all about the OS and ease-of-use for me.

  7. tom b Says:

    I think the AdAge numbers are suspect. Let’s wait for actual quarterly sales figures.

  8. Alex Luft Says:

    So now that the story is over a month old, what’s the opinion around this? With the recent announcement that Microsoft + partners are taking discounted pre-orders for Windows 7, will Microsoft begin to emphasize the OS aspect of the computing experience of the “PC”? I think so.

    Has anyone concluded any definite sales numbers/figures here? If not, we’ll be covering this story + the adage story + any numbers we can find on today’s TechNest Report Podcast at

    Harry, I’d love to see a follow-up post to this. I can even dig up some numbers and share them if you’d like.

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