Yesterday, Microsoft posted video “PC & Mac take flight — Avatar & Windows 7.” It’s not the most clever title, but the story is subtle and driving, like good marketing should be. Microsoft mad men once again cleverly market Windows 7 PC benefits, but, more importantly, they quite effectively highlight the differences between a Windows PC and Mac.
The video features a Windows laptop and Mac notebook in adjacent seats on a plane flight. The animated short is long on subtle marketing cues — like the airplane made out of Campbell soup-like “Windows Seven” cans; plane taking off over a Hollywood-like “Microsoft” sign; Windows logo on fasten-seat-belt-sign; and rating: “This film is rated PC. No Macs were used in the making of this video.”
The video also is the best swipe ever against Apple’s now retired “Get a Mac” marketing campaign. The commercials featured John Hodgman as a Windows PC and Justin Long as Macintosh. Hodgman played a doofus, while Long’s Mac was cool and, arguably, smug. Here, the two laptops are friendly — they’re buddies, not adversaries at all.
It’s a long flight, and the Windows laptop is ready to watch a movie, “Avatar,” and he invites the Mac notebook to join in. Blu-ray logo flashes across the screen. It’s another dig and differentiation — no Macs currently ship with Blu-ray players. “This is so cool,” says the Mac — and later: “It feels like we’re really in it.”
If these two characters aren’t part of a broader Microsoft marketing campaign, they should be. Microsoft has finally hit the right response to the “I’m a Mac, and I’m a PC” commercials. I strongly encourage Microsoft to air commercials with these characters in other settings. Keep the computers buddies — it’s more endearing, and it’s a kick-in-Apple’s-crotch that others are sure to write or talk about. All the while, future commercials can make those subtle digs and demonstrate the benefits of a Windows PC over Macintosh.