Microsoft’s ‘Laptop Hunters’ Commercials Ignore What Matters

As someone who’s switched from PC to Mac, I think the new Microsoft ‘Laptop Hunters’ commercials are getting too much attention and don’t reflect how consumers actually shop for computers. They completely ignore the biggest difference between PCs and Macs, treating OSX and Windows like an afterthought.

Xavier posted the commercials with some brief comments about the latest Microsoft “Laptop Hunter” advertisement.

First, I think that too much attention is being given to these ads. Microsoft has quickly pushed out a few other marketing efforts this year starring Gates, Seinfeld, a variety of common folk and celebs claiming to be PC’s, the hidden “Mohave Project” and finally some cuddly kids who can enhance a photo within two clicks of a lambs tail. You might notice that they share one thing in common, in every one (with the exception of the Seinfled/Gates ones) the stars of the adverts proclaim proudly “I’m a PC”. My question to you is, what is a “PC”?

Is the connection made by the average user to the operating system or with the computer itself? In the latest “Laptop Hunter” videos the supposed citizens on the street have chosen a Toshiba, HP, and Sony if I remember correctly. With the multitude of PC options available by so many brands, wouldn’t it be easier for them to concentrate on the operating system, its features, and potentially any additional software packages that they produce which are available on the PC?

When watching the adverts you can clearly see that those who Microsoft sends in to pick out their laptop under $1,500 obviously don’t seem to do any research before purchasing the computers. Most of their efforts are based on the aesthetics and the price tags associated with each computer. The mother and son in the latest commercial discuss the need for a “fast computer” so they can check things on a website just before running out to her son’s practice. In other words, they simply need a computer to surf the web, send emails, and possibly type up some homework. If that’s the case then why not go for a $600 laptop? Oh wait, because of the Blueray drive in it. We all love to pay a great deal extra to be tethered to our laptops to watch hi-definition entertainment. It must be for the quick road trips to games and practice right?

So far I think the commercials are a bit condescending to PC users who have expressed loud and clear that an affordable PC is no good if the operating system sucks.

I can’t remember the last time I heard someone complain about their experience with their Mac. The most common comment I have heard is “It just works.” How much would you pay for something to just do what its supposed to do? Would you pay more than the “other guy”? Apple adds a great deal of additional value to their products with out of the box software like iLife, Mail, and OSX which empower users to do an incredible amount of things within minutes of firing up their Macbook for the first time. My last Windows laptop and desktop provided me nothing but trial software and a couple of hard-to-use applications. I never really had an issue with Windows XP, but I was blown away my first time using OSX Leopard.

Microsoft needs to focus on creating a reliable, user friendly product that integrate well with whichever vendor the buyer chooses. Whether they choose a $500 laptop or one at $1,500, they are both going to have Windows installed on them. There is no way around this. When buyers are “wowed” money is no object. Apple has done a great job at “wowing” a record number of buyers over the last few years. Will Windows 7 be Microsoft’s turn? Isn’t the “wow” what they promised with Vista?

If we see some innovation from Microsoft over the next couple years then price won’t be the focus of their commercials. Lets see the real “wow” from the guys in Redmond shall we?

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