I am a PC

At first when I heard about the Microsoft “I am a PC” ads, my first
instinct was that the world’s biggest computer company should not feel the need
to respond to Apple’s “I’m a Mac and I’m a PC” ads which had aired
more than six months ago. It signified that not only that they gave a damn but
also they were likely to loose control of the debate.

After seeing the hundreth Apple ad mimicking and stereotyping the Microsoft user, I
started to see Apple as the bully of the playground. Poking fun at the perceived
‘not so cool’ Microsoft user was like the ‘IT’ girl in the playground with the
cooler nike trainers picking on others.

Microsoft approached me to be in the I
am a PC.
I wanted to do it not only to get the Lady Geek brand out there but more
importantly, I am tired of the unconditional and undeserving love people have
for the Apple brand. The original reason for the Apple brand being so desired,
was clearly a great product but also a position of being the underdog and a
brand for the non conformist.

With Apple’s growth rate surpassing Microsoft, has Apple become the brand for the
lazy conformist? The person who can’t think past the ‘mac tax’ and see the new
sexier brands like asus and acer chomping at their heels? Is Apple’s behaviour
precisely the behaviour of that which they criticized Microsoft? Have the
tables turned? And ultimately, do the I am PC ads successfully connect women with Microsoft?
showed some Lady Geeks the ads and they got an encouraging response.

With comments from ‘I love the stories behind the technology’ to ‘it made me reappraise the role of technology in my life.’ If its objective is to build the brand ethos
first and foremost, its clearly successful. It has managed to move away from
the technology and product specs and talk about what technology means to women
and what they care about. It achieves Malcolm Gladwell’s fundamental question
of what can Microsoft mean to people over and above being a software developer.

But if
its aim was to get people to reappraise Vista, then there is a fundamental
problem to solve. I asked my female colleagues at work what they knew about
Microsoft Vista. All are tech literate, bright and articulate 20 and 30
somethings. I got answers ranging from ‘is it a credit card?’ to ‘something on
my computer but I am not sure what.’ The majority of women don’t know or care
what an operating system is, and could not identify Microsoft’s flagship
product as an example of an operating system.

 

Meanwhile
Apple seem to have no difficulty communicating the value of OSX – it seems as
if every insignificant widget is trumpeted as if it were the greatest
development in computing since the invention of the mouse. Apple are fortunate
to have fans who create a reality-distortion field through which apple’s
products appear magical – and under the same lens Microsoft’s products are by
definition the exact opposite.

Lovers
generally tend to overlook the faults in the object of their affection and
Apple have been very good at building that kind of loyalty beyond reason
amongst their audience. Microsoft have never invested in building any kind of
emotional connection with their audience – which is what makes their new
campaign such a significant departure from their normal product-focused, conservative
advertising.

With the imminent launch of Windows 7, Microsoft claim to have fixed the
technical issues that disappointed so many Vista users – now the goal should be
to fix the marketing so that women care about this thing that Microsoft have
made, and understand how it enhances their life.