Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Impersonating Apple

In Microsoft's latest advertisement, which compares the Windows Tablet to the iPad, the software giant attempts to give us its best Apple impersonation.  Using the voice of Siri and signature Apple's clean white backdrop, Microsoft picks apart the iPad's features.   

However, as the ad closes with several suspicious still frames, astute consumers might notice a few things about this ad that are very un-Jobs like.

A limited time offer

Limited Time Offer
Apple, which traditionally prices products at the top of the market in order to convey a higher value, uses a consistent price.  In every instance, the price advertised is the price paid.  It's clear, simple and clean.  Notice that Microsoft takes a different approach.  The ad's claim of a better product isn't reinforced by the price tag, which is also subject to change.

Layers of branding 

Through the first 28 seconds of the ad, I thought I knew who was advertising.  Then came this frame.

It's only available at Dell.com?
So it's the Microsoft tablet, but consumers have to go to Dell.com to buy one?  It's both confusing branding and misguided distribution, as consumers cannot try it in the store beforehand.   

Synonym for Microsoft
The second layer of branding piled onto this product is Windows.  Microsoft first introduced the Windows operating system almost thirty years ago, in 1985.  They've put it in everything from smartphones used today to the clunky desktop computers that were relics even a decade ago.  Windows has taken so many forms, it's really just a meaningless name now.  New categories require products with new brand names.  Piling on a name just because it's familiar sounding does nothing for it.

Microsoft's impersonation of Apple is meant to degrade its competitor; however, it's strategy like this that make themselves look silly and contribute to the market share results like these 


Austin Lutz said...

It amazes me that no one has taken notes from Apple on their marketing.

They never talk about price because consumers do not purchase on price. I thought Dell would understand this if anyone did as they previously positioned themselves as the just in time computer company and not price. Consumers who are loyal purchase because they love a brand and therefore trust all of the products made by it. The reason for the downfall of Dell was the lack of emotional connection. I know people who bought Dell laptops in college and they were all loveless purchases; However, the people who purchased Apple products loved and cherished them because of the emotional connection.

It is hard to think of a material purchase in this way for many people but this is how the human brain is wired. We want to do business with people we like and purchase products we love.

Check out the Apple and PC commercials and notice how there is never any mention of price or availability. ( http://youtu.be/VCL5UgxtoLs )

Michael Dell is once again setting this company up for another failure if he is leading with price as opposed to differentiating himself by driving an emotional connection.

Nate said...

Thanks for the insight. I know that as I'm trying to build a business, I'm looking for people who are doing marketing right. And Apple definitely takes the cake. Back when they really had it down and it did "just work", I had no problem switching over to the MacOS system from Windows.

I definitely agree that you should "spy on" your competitors and mock them. Samsung is a shining example of this with the series of ads for their Galaxy S3. All the things that you point out that Microsoft did wrong, Samsung did RIGHT: no brand confusion, no limited time offer, etc. It was like they were beating Apple to the punch, and when you can do that, THEN you've got some good branding, messaging, and market share.

Thanks for the post!