Another ‘laptop hunter’ advert has dropped from the MS tree

Microsoft have dropped another of their laptop hunter adverts – upping the budget on the laptop, and replacing the bubbly Lauren with the dashing Giampolo. He drools over the sexiness of a MacBook, but ends up being turned off by the coolness tax. (Sensing a trend?)

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All of the adverts I’ve seen since the initial “churro” positioning adverts with Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld, have been bang on target. So it’s quite hilarious to watch the scurrying little macophiles scrabbling around trying to find purchase to criticise the adverts “it doesn’t mean anything,” “they’re not even talking about Windows.”

No shit.

Just like Apple sell MacBooks, not OSX – and talk up the experience, and build an emotional attachment towards their brand. This is exactly the same thing Microsoft have been doing lately – and with the most recent couple of adverts, they’ve started talking about price.

If you try to build a perception of warmth and friendliness (see: churro ads) about the company people say you’re not even talking about computers.

If you show a whole bunch of Windows users from all walks of life, with hugely varying computing needs (see: I’m a PC ads), they scream about how badly Deepak Chopra comes across. Talk about missing the point!

If you talk about how much people like Vista until they’re told it’s Vista, i.e. that they just buy the spin that it’s bad (see: Mojave Experiment ads) – people, well they just rail against Vista some more. It’s easy if you’ve never used it.

If you talk about computers – people moan that you’re not talking specifically about your OS  – never mind that the OS has to run on a computer, Microsoft don’t sell computers, and the way the vast majority of Windows users get Windows is when they buy a new computer. (Or that they’ve spoken about the OS before.)

There’s only 30 seconds in a normal TV advert, so you have to pick what you say. Taken as a whole the advertising Microsoft have been running answer all of these complaints. Take just one advert, and you only get part of the message – so it’s no surprise that critics find it convenient to pretend each advert exists in a vaccuum.

It’s really too bad Microsoft didn’t have their shit as together for the Vista release. The Vista bashing trope continues to confound me – as a daily Vista user (it’s the main OS I use at home) all of the criticisms I hear bandied about seem completely alien to me. The experience claimed is entirely unlike the reality of my day-to-day experience, which continues to be: rock solid stability, great performance, and superb compatibility.

I suspect the major critics of Vista have never really used it. Which isn’t really such a  surprise, given how dominant Apple use is in the blogosphere. In fact, outside of  university campuses, it’s about the only place they really seem to be growing their marketshare significantly. Unfortunately for we poor little Windows users (yeah, it’s just so hard being part of the overwhelming 90% majority, I’m sure you sympathise) this is a very vocal group. And uninformed, but never mind.

It is perhaps a little disappointing to see another HP be the chosen laptop – HP are probably partnering with MS on the ads. But it sure would be nice to express how diverse the Windows/PC ecosystem really is. Hint: super diverse – Dell aren’t like Asus aren’t like Fujitsu aren’t like Toshiba aren’t like Lenovo. And of course they do this to some extent, as Lauren & Gianpolo browse through many many different notebooks in their search. It’s just a bit of a bummer that it’s only been HPs that they’ve purchased.

Maybe they could even drop a netbook in there somewhere – though they may be waiting until Windows 7 is available before doing that, given how well it runs on the low spec hardware used in most netbooks. Of course HP make really good netbooks*, so even there it might be hard not to have a hypothetical future laptop hunter choose yet another HP.

With their advertising agency producing such effective material, and the generally positive opinion amongst the digerati towards Windows 7, it’ll be interesting to see what happens – particularly vis-à-vis Apple’s marketing in response – once Windows 7 finally starts to ship, whenever that is.

I’ll give you even odds that they’ll quickly resort to similar attack advertisements as they used when Vista was first released. But will real people – as opposed to the loud-mouthed crybaby macophile blogosphere that eats anything Apple deign to serve – fall for it again?

I hope not, it gets tiring really fast.

Only vaguely related to this, but my hunch is that if Jobs doesn’t come back Apple will continue on a ballistic upwards trajectory for another 18 months to 2 years, but then start to lose their way again. Apple is Steve Jobs. If you don’t believe me look at the 1990s. They’re in a much better position now than when Jobs left Apple in the 1980s, but does anyone else in a position to take over the reigns have anything like the same strongheadedness? I just don’t know.

It would be a damn shame if they do lose their way again though – Apple, with all of the great ideas they steal from the open source community, are a great driving force for the PC industry. Competition is always good.

* I’ve been looking at netbooks a lot lately, as my now aging Asus Eee is due for replacement, and HP are definitely on the list of possibles. I’m looking at 720p or better in a 10-12″ screen, great keyboard, and long battery life. Which are completely reasonable specs for the latest generation of netbooks, the only one of which that is still a little elusive is the screen resolution, as most are still restricted to 1024×600, which doesn’t make for an entirely satisfying experience, with too much scrolling – in both directions – to really enjoy using some websites.