While it seems most PC users got a kick out of watching Seinfeld inquire about the future of chewy computers and Bill Gates doing the robot, I've remained critical of Microsoft's $300 million ad campaign and have yet to be impressed with one of its commercials, including the "I'm a PC" segments currently being aired. By contrast, I found myself chuckling at Apple's initial round of ads, not because I thought they were accurate (they're not), but because they managed to throw humorous jabs without going for that impossible knockout punch. For those of you who follow baseball, it's like being a Red Sox fan (which I am) and tipping your hat at the Tampa Bay Rays for outplaying your team last night (which they did), even though you despise them (which I do).
But lest anyone accuse me of sleeping with the enemy (you know, those whiny Mac losers), let me go on record as saying that the new Mac ads suck too, and not just because I've developed an urge to want to punch Justin Long-in-the-tooth square in the face (I bet he's a Tampa Bay fan too, the smug bastard). Rather, it's Apple's laziness that disappoints me this time around, an unforgivable offense considering Microsoft practically pointed at its face and said "slap me here." And instead of doing what Mac commercials do best - distort the truth while hyping up Macs as the utopian PC it isn't - Apple went from throwing funny jabs to trying to land a viscious uppercut, and missing.
The first ad pokes fun at Microsoft for spending an inordinate amount of money on advertising instead of throwing more cash into Vista. Is it just me, or is this not exactly the scenario the idiom "pot calling the kettle black" was created? I'm not sick of Justin Long because he came over to my house one weekend and kicked my kitten, but because what started off as a few funny commercials has turned into a near constant bombardment by Apple that's now a tired theme. Surely Long hasn't been starring in the ongoing ad campaign on a pro bono basis, so is taking a shot at Microsoft for spending money on an ad campaign really the best response Apple could come up with? Forget the fact that Microsoft is responsible for three of America's top 16 richest people with a combined net worth of $88 billion (Bill Gates, Paul Allen, and Steve Ballmer). The tone of the ad also takes on a somewhat uncomfortable tone when John Hodgman (PC) says "With all the Vista problems that have been frustrating PC users, I have to take drastic action." Revenge might be a dish best served cold, but if there's a recipe for humor, it would say to serve subtle, which the ad doesn't do.
The second ad isn't much better and attempts to bash Microsoft's new commercials for avoiding the V word (Vista). And just like the other ad, it makes no mention of anything Mac, instead focusing entirely on Microsoft's decision to launch an ad campaign of its own. Is there another writer's strike I'm not aware of?
We all knew a response was imminent, but did anyone anticipate it being this lame?