We were pretty clear in sharing our feelings where Palm’s Pre commercials are concerned but just in case our headline wasn’t clear enough for you, we don’t like them. In a nutshell, they make us want to curl up in a corner and cry, not run out and buy a Pre. Gary Koepke is the co-founder of Modernista, the agency behind the ads, and he recently defended his work in an interview with AdAge:
We love you Palm, we really do. WebOS is in a small club of mobile platforms that is as versatile and visually pleasing as it is powerful and it has all the potential in the world… If Palm can manage to sell the handsets that it powers. We still don’t know how many Pres have been sold and analyst guesses range from 200,000 to 500,000 and beyond. What we do know however, is that Palm isn’t doing itself any favors with its faux esoteric, new age TV ads starring a mescaline-addicted albino woman. Love the Pre or hate it, do these commercials really want to make anyone run out and buy a Pre? Palm’s latest ad has this creepy lady babbling over an Ulrich Schnauss track about how her phone can read her mind and how people think she’s crazy. The Palm Pre — you know, the phone they’re trying to sell here — doesn’t even make an appearance until 22 seconds into this 30 second spot. Right. We get the point you’re trying to make, Palm, but we don’t walk away from this ad thinking, “Wow, I really want to buy a Pre because it’s remarkably intuitive and I don’t follow the herd!” No, we walk away thinking, “Wow, this chick needs an intervention.” Hit the jump to check out the commercial and hit Palm execs in the head for letting an ad agency convince them that this run was a good idea.
Microsoft’s latest ad campaign, which began its run this past Sunday, is a sharp departure from the widely publicized I’m a PC campaign that has seemingly been successful for Redmond. No, it’s not just the fact that it will carry 50% of I’m a PC’s budget – Microsoft’s latest People Ready revival will target the enterprise market as opposed to the end-user run we’ve been seeing for the past few months. Carrying the new slogan, “Because it’s everybody’s business,” the $150 million campaign has a small-budget look and feel but enlists the help of some big-budget execs including Nestle US CEO Brad Alford, Quicksilver President and CEO Bob McKnight and Chief Marketing Officer of Coca-Cola NA, Katie Bayne (seen above). The campaign will stress the importance of cost-effective software solutions that “drive the success” of businesses. As the economic downturn continues to impact every industry and belts tighten around the world, Microsoft hopes to shed further light on its suite of enterprise solutions and convey that efficiency translates into savings. As is always the case, we won’t know what kind of impact this run will have on Microsoft’s enterprise sales for a while, but these new commercials are definitely creative and different. What do you guys think? Will any of you be bugging IT until it makes the switch from Lotus Notes to Exchange after seeing these clips?
Across the pond in the UK, they do in fact have something very foreign to us here in America called advertising standards. Apparently, in some cases at least, companies are actually held accountable for claims made in their advertisements. Crazy, we know. The body responsible for ensuring that advertising is up to par with UK standards, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), was none too happy with a recent iPhone 3G commercial and ended up banning it from UK airwaves. Apparently it received complaints from 17 people claiming that the commercial was very misleading, citing one point in the ad where the handset loads web pages in just a fraction of a second. Apple responded with the claim that its representations and statements in the commercial were “relative rather than absolute in nature,” but still complied when the ASA instructed it to cease the ad run. Despite the presence of the text, “Network performance will vary by location” in the ad, the ASA seems to think that the iPhone 3G is not capable of such speedy performance regardless of the network. We can’t say we disagree. Here in the US, similar ads continue to run but may in fact be pulled by Apple in the not-so-distant future. Why? We don’t complain to an ad-watching organization here in the States, we sue.
First is was hilarious. The Mac, Justin Long, all cool and hip with his witty retorts and his, umm, jeans. The PC, John Hodgman, all dorky with his thick glasses and his ties. Oh lordy that PC, how silly he was with all of his dumb ideas and his inferior OS. After a while, Microsoft decided to respond to the commercials with a run of its own. “I’m a PC”, responding to “I’m a Mac”, highlighted the tremendous reach of the Windows OS and the millions of people in all walks of life who use Windows. Ok, super. Can we move on now? Oh no – now a fresh crop of two new Mac ads have started running, attacking Microsoft for not saying the word Vista in its commercials in the “The V Word”, and claiming that Microsoft is spending all its money on advertising as opposed to fixing Vista in “Bean Counter”. Umm, prior to Microsoft’s current ad run did any computer company advertise on TV even 10% as much as Apple? Regardless, it’s getting dirty out there folks – we haven’t seen a smear campaign like this since, well, Obama and McCain. The bottom line is that the whole thing is getting old. Sure, fanboys will still snicker at Justin Long and all of his snappy zingers but you don’t need to sell fanboys now do you Apple? You need to sell the rest of the market and stagnant ads with a dude who was funnier when he was getting pelted in the marbles with dodgeballs might not cut it anymore. So Apple, it will behoove you to know that we’re kind of over it. It was witty, it was effective and it’s time to move on. It might be best to get rolling with a new campaign before Justin Long becomes the next Aflac duck or Geico gecko – you know, so hated that people actually vow never to give those companies a single dollar as a result. Hit the jump for the other zany new “I’m a Mac” ad.
Well there you have it. Microsoft did in fact ditch its Seinfeld / Gates campaign at least temporarily, in favor of a new run directly targeting Apple’s “I’m a Mac” ads. The new series of commercials features an eclectic bunch of people, all claiming to be PC users. The message in theory being that PCs don’t necessarily have to hide in pizza boxes to attract an interesting customer base. Instead, they are used by people in all walks of life and are “connected to over a billion others worldwide.” The slogan of this new campaign, “Life Without Walls,” is an effort to show viewers how versatile and capable PCs are – contrary to the notion conveyed in Apple’s ads. A few celebrity cameos within the first run of the “I’m a PC” series include William Gates himself, Mrs. and Mr. Eva Longoria and BGR pal Pharrell Williams. The commercials also features a number of Microsoft employees and offers an email address along with each one, including Mac commercial “PC guy” look-alike Sean Siler (email@example.com). While we think these new ads are fine and good, they’re still missing one of the key factors that makes Apple’s “I’m a Mac” commercials, and even it’s iPhone and other commercials so compelling. Features. Apple’s commercials use interesting scenarios and catchy themes to highlight actual capabilities of its products. In fact the key theme behind just about every “I’m a Mac” commercial is, “I can do this, this and this. PC can’t.” Here’s to hoping that this first “I’m a PC” run is just a little taste to get us used to the campaign and that eventually Microsoft might actually show us all of the great things about PCs as opposed to just telling us that “real people” use them. Hit the jump for two more runs of the commercial.