Price and Penis Size: Microsoft fails again in PC advertising campaign

Another day, another wank of a commercial thanks to the folks at Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the same people who used the Unabomber to try and sell (used lately? probably not :-) )

The emphasis on price is in the new ad like the one before it, but this time we have a male character with a fancy name who's suffering from small penis syndrome, because the added emphasis switches to the size of the things in the laptop.

Jean-Paulo calls the Macs sexy, but then delivers the line "Mac's to me are more about aesthetics than computing power." I hope to god Microsoft plays these ads in Australia so Apple can lodge a claim with the consumer regulator for false claims, but I digress.

As per the last ad, the question is: will a buying decision really be made on "computing power" or perceptions of end use value? Will those who will make a decision based on "computing power" really take the word of a poncy guy with a foreign name?

Our tech columnist Steven Hodson claims that this is about getting people to believe in Microsoft again, and he compares it to others who claim that it fails on the basis that they're not selling Windows. I disagree with all of them. This has nothing to do with Microsoft or Windows, and everything to do with creating a value proposition based on price in a major economic downturn which is seeing laptop sales slow.

Microsoft wants you to know that you get more bang for your buck, even if PC's aren't as pretty (and the message is clearer in this ad compared to the last one.) Not mentioning Windows is intentional because they can't win on that front, so they take the battle to the only front they can win, price and penis size. The key is to get consumers to make a call before they consider the OS: forcing a decision before they switch the laptop on and realize how drunk they were the night before and the woman they thought they were sleeping with turned out to be a man in a dress.

Let me say one thing though: it's not the size that matters, but how you use it ;-)

The failure comes with the presumption that most consumers (or enough) are stupid enough to look only at hardware specs and price when buying a laptop, vs the operating system that runs it. Further, it also presumes that people buy Mac's for looks and not the OS; this might be true in some buying scenarios, but they'd be a minority. Could it work in switching some buying decisions? sure, but enough to make a serious difference? unlikely. Besides, the sort of consumers who would switch are mostly low-yield consumers that Apple probably doesn't care all that much about anyway. The key to Apple's success in the computer market hasn't been as market leader, it's been through carving out a niche of high-yield consumers who lap their products up. Which buyer would you prefer: the $500 Acer laptop buyer or the $2000 Macbook Pro buyer if you're a hardware and software seller?