Monday, May 08, 2006

The real meaning of the new Mac ads

Well, as usual the media had the same overinflated coverage of the new Apple campaign - and the ways in which the Apple ass was kissed were rather 'innovative' - up to an article that in the title is saying that the ads will fail only to explain in the text that the ads are great and will actually not fail :)

The truth is that most people find the new ads rather odd - and many people try to guess the reasons behind that - but if you pay a little attention and use an open mind things are quite clear!

It is very easy to note that the ads are not about the hardware/technical part ( that would be quite difficult since the current hardware is inferior and pathetic ) and are also quite strange since it's about a Mac vs. a "PC" - even if today a Mac is just a glorified PC - but that is just the sign that Steve Jobs doesn't yet have the guts to attack the hand that almost destroyed him and then added insult to injury by saving Apple not so many years ago - obviously I speak about Bill Gates and Microsoft :)

Also the ads are not primarily designed to push people towards a Windows-to-Mac conversion - some people say it's about setting mindshare - but if we look deeper we see that there is almost no real message for an existing Windows user (I believe no serious corporate 2000/XP user has seen the crash or even the viruses that Apple is implying in the ads) but instead the campaign is repeating the same stereotypes loved by the existing MacFans - so the obvious conclusion is that the main reason behind the ads is to just make those existing customers feel somehow special - which obviously was needed since almost everything Apple was saying in the past was just being proved wrong - starting with the inferior PowerPC performance that was simply becoming embarrassing to the point where a switch to the eternal enemy - Intel x86 - was needed, and more recently the constant increase in bugs and vulnerabilities in OSX ...

But why does Apple need to somehow reassure existing customers that their computers are great ? I mean, those people already have those computers - so they should be in the "already converted" camp, shouldn't they ? Well, not quite so ... once we get past the top 10% MacZealots that are too brainwashed to accept that Apple is "milking" them we get to a large number of Mac owners that might feel a little unhappy - after all many of them have paid 3000+ US$ (maybe some of them less than one year ago) for PowerBooks that seem to be now 5-6 times slower than a far cheaper Dell Latitude :)

Another reason why Apple should be a little concerned on keeping existing customers is the "cool factor" - by definition (for most Apple customers) you are NOT cool if everybody else has the same gizmos - that is already visible on the iPod part but until recently getting a PC about 200-300% overpriced from Apple was quite exclusive - not any more! - the 10000 US$ Dell XPS desktop is now the exclusive item (and was quickly sold out) and new lines of ultra-expensive notebooks are coming from many companies with FAR more x86 experience than Apple so some people will almost certainly choose that road!

So yes, Apple needed to reassure their existing ultra-thin base that they are special and they will keep being special as long as they will buy overpriced Apple gizmos - and in that the campaign will probably be a success - but on moving people from Windows to Macs almost certainly not - for that we'll have to see in 1-2 days the new lower-cost MacBooks (non-pro, just amateurs) and the new DIFFERENT campaign for those :)

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