September 26, 2013
Microsoft Finally Fights Back
“Do you still think I’m pretty?” Siri asks after exhausting all the comparable features between an Apple iPad mini and Microsoft Surface RT in Microsoft’s latest Surface RT ad campaign. It’s reminiscent of Apple’s “I’m a Mac” campaign circa 2007. Is this Microsoft finally firing back?
While Apple has run a number of ad campaigns that take aim at Microsoft (yes, we know not all of Apple’s ads do this), Microsoft has stuck with promoting its own offerings. Back when “I’m a Mac” commercials were airing frequently during prime time, Microsoft countered with its “I’m a PC” campaign. While this sounds like a direct knock-off of the Apple creative, it was quite different. Users from around the world stated how Windows uniquely served one of their needs, then the tagline “I’m a PC.” It didn’t take direct aim at Apple. It spoke to the PC audience.
Now, in 2013, Microsoft’s latest ad campaign takes direct aim at its competitor. While Apple had a lead in the tablet market, its numbers are dwindling while Microsoft Windows 8 market share grows. An IDC report, Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, detailing tablet shipments for Q2, 2013, showed that iOS had lost 14.1 percent market share in year-over-year growth while Windows tablets grew by 527 percent. Admittedly, Microsoft had more ground to make up. However, the Windows platform is growing quickly. In addition to growth of Windows tablets, with 1.8 million in shipments, Windows RT tablet shipped 200,000 in Q2, 2013. As this is still a new tablet, IDC does not have comparison data for previous quarters.
Microsoft’s new ad campaign, which has been running for a month or so, lists comparisons between the iPad mini and Windows 8 Surface RT tablet. It highlights how Microsoft has a stronger tablet in a very clever way. Siri, Apple’s intelligent personal assistant, reacts to the capabilities of the Surface RT tablet. “What the … is that Halo? I did not see that coming,” Siri says in the ad. Then she follows up with, “Wow, you’re a real PC.” Ultimately, Siri suggests the two tablets read together. When the prices for the two tablets is displayed on the screen she says, “Wait, don’t read that.”
A follow-up commercial from Microsoft starts with Siri saying, “Oh no, here we go again.” And the realization, “This will not end well for me.” The commercial concludes with the question, “Do you still think I’m pretty?” For the price difference, many people will start to think the Windows Surface RT tablet is prettier.
Microsoft, which offers a range of tablets with Windows 8 from a number of manufacturers, entered somewhat late to the game. While Android is growing at a steady pace, Microsoft is quickly gaining market share. When the features are highlighted, and the price is compared, some consumers find it difficult to justify with the Apple marketing machine.
The new ad campaign makes me laugh. The first commercial has been in heavy rotation on the web for at least a month and the second commercial has just hit. More recently, Microsoft began running the 30-second spot during prime time. Do you find the new commercials funny, offending, or thought provoking?