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“I’m a PC and I sell fish”

By now you’ve probably seen one of the new Microsoft adverts. You know the ones, Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld bantering in a seemingly nonsensical manner and at no point mentioning quite what they’re talking about or, at least, attempting to advertise.

Then there’s the other lot of ads from Bill and Co. The Gatesmeister doesn’t feature and Seinfeld has allegedly been canned, but the Redmond boys take aim at Apple’s I’m a Mac/I’m a PC campaign by, well… repeating the “I’m a PC” line. A wide range of people from all walks of life repeat the simple phrase “I’m a PC and I…” filling in the blank with everything from charity work to graffiti (yeah, PC users break the law too guys). This culminates with one chap proudly proclaiming “I’m a PC and I sell fish”. What the hell is going on!?

Online, people are wondering about hidden meanings in the Seinfeld ads, is the old woman Steve Jobs? Are scallop potatoes meant to be Macs? Was it really Bill Gates behind the Grassy Knoll? That’s stage one of the – wait for it – $300 million advertising campaign complete. People are talking about the ads.
Whether the consumers get it or not, they’re talking about Microsoft rather than just blindly using its software.

Then there’s the second batch of ads, the Seinfeld-less “I’m a PC” ones. Am I the only one to think this was a bad move? Even if I didn’t have a clue what Shoe Circus was meant to represent as Bill and Jerry tried on loafers, at least I was intrigued. Joe Public and a sprinkling of cash-hungry celebrities yelling “I’m a PC” in between my regular TV programming tells me two things; one – PCs are used the world over for a wide variety of tasks, both creative and dull. Tell me something I didn’t know. Two – Microsoft is aware of, possibly even worried/annoyed by, Apple’s “I’m a Mac” campaign.

The Bill & Jerry’s ads completely overlooked Apple’s ads. They ignored them as a company with such an enormous market share should. Microsoft is the Ford of the technology world, and you don’t see the Fiesta trying to rival a Ferrari when it comes to marketing.

So what are we left with? A petty playground squabble that will end up costing Microsoft about as much as it would cost to fix its currently flawed operating system. Don’t worry about Apple, boys. Take a look at yourselves! You’re re-branding a dead horse, that’s for sure, but people are still buying PCs and they’re still buying Windows. Just because the Zune didn’t take off doesn’t mean you’re failing.

Ultimately my problem comes down to the Microsoft fan boys (yes, I said “fan boys”). For years, us Mac users have been elitist and we’ve said that our platform is better than yours. There’s no getting around that. Now it actually IS better, and we’re still saying it. That hasn’t stopped Microsoft ruling the roost in the market share stakes. Nobody stopped buying PCs. But now, a set of overpriced and over hyped ads have appeared and the Windows users have crawled out of the woodwork to laugh and point and jeer and boast about their ads as if they’ve won some kind of battle. It’s a sad truth, but the Microsoft crowd are acting like the underdogs and that’s what entertains me the most. You don’t like our ads, nobody understands yours.

However you look at it, in terms of PR or user satisfaction, I’ll tell you one thing. I’m still glad “I’m a Mac and I don’t sell fish”.