Time for a little heresy.
I like Microsoft’s advertising.
There, I said it. Bring on the ire. I welcome it.
Yes, I am a fan of a infamous Gates/Seinfeld ads (solely due to the fact I am a rabid Seinfeld fan), yes I enjoy the campy I’m a PC ads, and yes I am fond of the new Laptop Hunters ad campaign – the most recent of which can be seen below.
Now why would I dare admit to this, especially given the fact that I work for a tech company (in the marketing department to boot), within an industry that is home to the vast majority of Mac zealots (myself included), and where it is quite fashionable to bash anything Microsoft puts out.
Simple. Looking at their advertising objectively, Microsoft’s ads smart, pointed, and consumer-focused. This will get results.
One of the commandments of advertising, if there ever was such a thing, is that you want to create an emotional connection with your audience, and the easiest way to do this is to get them to relate to the context of the ad in question. Think about the wildly successful Dove Campaign for Real Beauty ads. These were successful not because they were a radical departure of airbrushed supermodels hawking their products, but because the target market saw that it could be ANYONE in those ads.
The same is happening with the recent Microsoft ads, the Gates/Seinfeld debacle notwithstanding. Joe consumer will be able to relate to the regular people in these ads, in regular buying situations, and this will undoubtedly drive sales. At this point the argument over pricing, features, viruses, and durability is irrelevant; it is much harder to create that connection with stilted caricatures like in the “Mac vs. PC” ads, that in my opinion sometimes go as far as to be smug and condescending, rather then relate-able. I don’t know about you, but talking down to me isn’t going to sell me on your product no matter how hip/vogue it might be.
By now you are probably all thinking, “OK Chris, you can get off the soapbox anytime…” and you will be happy to know I am almost done my little rant, save for a small real estate take-away.
A couple weeks ago I was perusing the Homes section of our local newspaper when I came across an ad for a real estate agent advertising their services. The agent in question was standing in front of their luxury automobile and boasted about how they were a “top producer” and in some sort of exclusive selling club for being so unbelievably awesome – the specifics escape me because I could not longer take it and stopped reading all together.
Rather then extol the benefits of themselves or the service they are providing, said agent should take a page from the Microsoft book of marketing and position their ad to relate to what customers are looking for when buying or selling. Why not just say, “Look I know what you are going through in the buying/selling – I am here to help.” You are going to come across much more approachable, and won’t completely turn off younger people like myself who see this type of advertising as borderline offensive.
The bottom line is this. Just like Microsoft, your advertising should be a mirror of the consumer experience rather then a pulpit for you to launch into a speech about the benefits of your product/service in hopes that it meshes with someone that happens to hear it.
Now where is my Mac, I need to get some work done around here…