New Apple Ads Aim to Justify Their Price Tags


Safety. Ease of use. Intuitive free software. Stability.

These are the highlights of the four new Apple commercials starring the bickering married computer couple we’ve been enjoying since 2006; Mac and PC. In light of Microsoft’s recent “Laptop Hunters” campaign, the duo returned for the first advertisements of 2009, focusing on the things that set Macintosh computers apart from PCs – things that matter more than getting a computer for as little money as possible.

The safety advertisement, called Biohazard Suit, shows PC living his life trapped in a super biohazard suit thanks to the 20,000 new viruses and malware that are discovered every day – something Macs don’t have to worry about.

The Ease of Use ad, Legal Copy, comments on the simple and intuitive interface of the Mac OS. A lot of the troublesome aspects of Windows that cause many people difficulty, such as updates, drivers, and patches, are generally automatic on a Mac.

The third ad, called Stacks, shows PC attempting to find a certain photo file on his machine. Mac tells him how a free piece of software that comes with every Mac has a facial recognition feature, where you can tag a face and it’ll find all the other photos in your machine that have that face. That’s an example of the type of intuitive free software that doesn’t come standard with any PC.

Finally, we have the Time Traveler ad, which showcases Mac’s stability. Freezing, crashing, error messages – these are plagues of Windows. They are troubles Mac has never had as much, and the ad shows PCs still suffering from freezing in the year 2150. This one is the most subjective, because it’s doubtful that Apple has any prophets on staff, but it’s a statement about the history of both computer systems, and Apple’s superior stability between them.

As mentioned, Mac has been using these Mac Vs. PC ads since 2006. They’re focused, well-targeted, slick and funny – and aim to tell you exactly what’s what.

The recent Microsoft “Laptop Hunters” ads, which were discussed on this blog last week, are taking a somewhat similar approach to their new campaign by directly targeting Macs. The ads are focused on cost, and follow people who have limited budgets as they journey through a computer purchase. None of them end up with a Mac because, well, Macs cost more. The ads are the product of a worried economy, where Microsoft is hoping naïve people will pay less money for a crummy, low-level PC instead of a more expensive Mac.

To see our thoughts about the whole campaign, see the other blog post.

What Mac is doing here is an answer to the “Laptop Hunters” campaign. Using characters people have become familiar with and enjoy, they’ve created four ads focusing on categories where Apples are almost always superior – Safety, ease of use, intuitive free software and stability.

In effect, they’re saying, “Yes, our computers cost more. This is why.”

In effect, they’re saying, “There is a reason Gilbey’s and Tanqueray are different prices.”

I think it’s a smart move on their part, and they are not as much of a low blow as the Microsoft ads. They hit the mark on four points that are very important to informed computer buyers. They also indirectly tell consumers about things that will save them time and money in the long run. Safety means no need to spend money on expensive virus protection systems. Ease of use means less time fiddling with drivers and updates, and more time working. Intuitive free software means less software that needs purchased, because it comes on your machine. And stability – well, who can put a price on never seeing the blue screen of death again?

All around, it’s good to see more of these ads, and good timing for them as well. Well played.

  8 comments for “New Apple Ads Aim to Justify Their Price Tags

  1. not you
    April 24, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    You cannot be serious???
    Mac’s don’t have to worry about viruses? There are several in the wild viruses out for OSX. please read up before you publish garbage like that.

    Apple even recommends an Anti-Virus program for Macs on their help pages.

    Also OSX ALWAYS falls first and fastest at Pwn2Own. Safari is the least secure browser out and many banking and financila institutions do not allow its use (PayPal for one).

    Simplicity again you have to be joking, Finding a file is as easy on one as it is on the other.

    As a Mac owner I have seen the spinning pinwheel of deat and the dreaded Kernel Panic just as many times as I have seen the BSOD.

    There is very little objectivity in that article instead you come off sounding like a Mac FanBoy who has drank too much of the Koolaide this morning

  2. Jeff
    April 24, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    You got me – there are Mac viruses. However, I’m not sure the “several” viruses available for Mac can objectively be compared to the 20,000 new ones Windows gets exposed to every day. I’ve never known anyone to use a virus program on their Mac, and I’ve never known anyone to actually get one in their system.

    Safari does suck, I’ll give you that – but I also don’t recall mentioning Safari in the article. Firefox for OSX is stellar. But everyone should be used to the browser that comes with their computer sucking – just take a look at IE. I wouldn’t use IE on my Windows machines if I were paid $1/day.

    Finding a file is easy on either platform, sure… but again, I wasn’t talking about finding a file. Simplicity was in reference to what is mentioned in the ads: things like facial recognition software in iphoto, drivers, etc. Macs do have a lot of unique tools that speed up workflow.

    And sure, you see the spinning wheel… any computer gets sluggish. When does the article say it won’t? Though I can’t say I’ve ever, ever, in 10 years of using Macs, from Macbooks to PowerMacs, back to the old Performa 450, seen a Kernel Panic.

    Lots of arguments based on things not referenced in the article – you should write your own!

    I do like Kool Aid, though. OH YEAH.

  3. Lots of rebuttals
    April 25, 2009 at 10:54 am

    I have a many things to say about these ads… they seem highly misleading to uninformed users (i.e. the normal Joe Bloggs).

    Firstly, the virus point. The main reason there are so many more viruses out on Windows than Mac is because of the large user base. It’s profitable for a malware coder to create something which’ll affect possibly thousands, or tens of thousands of users, as opposed to the few hundred people using Mac. Not only that, but it’ll take a hell of a lot of stupidity to allow viruses into a Windows machine, e.g. porn, warez etc. This is the exact same way in which Mac users will induce a virus.

    Secondly, the ease of use point, with all the automatic updates and such. This occurs already in Windows Vista. Mac has it easy in terms of updating hardware drivers and such, because there isn’t much of a range of hardware for Macs. Unlike Windows however, where there are millions of different hardware vendors and different models from each. Examples being the millions of different networking and graphics drivers available on PCs. The wide range of hardware is quite an advantage for PC users, with the ability of being able to pick and choose what hardware you want in your machine (that is if you build your own machine or get someone to customize yours).

    Thirdly, the file access point. This is hardly a point, just more of a “novelty”. It’s highly unnecessary, and I can’t see many real users finding face recognition and such extremely useful or productive. With many free programs available to organise photos and such, there already are convenient ways for people to organise and find photos. If anything, just use the Search toolbar in Windows Explorer (provided you are using Vista or 7).

    … Finally, the point about the stability of Macs compared to Windows. I don’t see how this point is valid nor justified. Personally, I never get any unstable crashes or whatever. Granted, the only BSODs I’ve ever gotten were from unstable overclocks, but that’s about it (instability always occurs if you go too far, regardless of OS). Windows Vista has fixed most instabilities, save the first three months, where vendors refused to create proper drivers. In fact, Windows 7 has taken a step further to ensure that stability is ensured by making Vista drivers compatible, meaning that there’s no such thing as incompatibilities and instability caused by incompatible drivers (Don’t try and tell me that Vista has no drivers, that’s complete rubbish).

    So all in all, I agree with “not you”, this is a very fanboi-ish article. Apple specifically preys on the uninformed in order to get their cash. To say that the price of a Mac is hardly justified, when you could get superior hardware and specs at the same price of a Mac, and then illegally (or legally, depending how you do things), install OSX onto that PC (through things such as iDeneb, iAtkos etc.).

  4. nobody ever wins
    April 25, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Neither side ever wins these arguments, because neither can ever be right. Too much of them is based on personal experience and attitude towards economics and personal needs. Sure this article is fanboyish, but it seems that was the intent. Now people can argue as planned.

    The point about there being more viruses for PC than mac because it’s more effective is a big ‘duh’ – everyone knows that. Ease of use? Yeah, they both have automatic updates. They both support a lot of hardware, too, though. I use both platforms and have never had a piece of hardware that didn’t work with mac, so I don’t know if saying there isn’t as much for the platform is correct. There’s less software, not so much less hardware. And it’s true that when you plug something in to the mac, it usually just outright works… but that’s fairly often true on the pc as well. Big deal. Then access – saying facial recognition is something people won’t use is subjective, though it may be true. But I don’t think the ads aim to say ‘look, we have facial recognition’ – it’s just one example to mention a wide range of intuitive tools that come with the system.

    And then there’s stability.. which is where the responses start to sound pc fanboyish. Anybody can tell you Macs are more stable, and anyone arguing Vista as being superior or even equal to any OS ever made is out of their mind. XP was closer than vista. And using Windows 7 as a point of argument is hearsay.

    Macs are overpriced, though… but who cares? I’ll never understand why both platforms can’t just exist. Don’t buy one if you don’t want to pay for it.

  5. December 3, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    I like this article.
    Thanks for sharing it.

  6. December 27, 2010 at 6:36 am

    Safety is definitely a big deal with PCs and a constant worry apple has little to worry about.

  7. NicktheFace
    March 7, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    1: Macs DO get viruses.
    2: Macs only have ONE visual look.
    3. Macs DO freeze up.
    4. The specs on a MAC you get for your buck is unjustifiable compared to a PC.
    5. Macs turn normal people into arrogant, shallow people.

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