Yesterday evening, I was watching Channel 4‘s satirical political show, “Bremner, Bird and Fortune“, when a Microsoft “I’m a PC” ad ran in one of the breaks. I was surprised – firstly because I thought the campaign was US-only (although I must confess that I don’t watch much commercial TV anyway) but also because it seemed to miss the point that 1 billion PC users run Windows. All we got was Sean the Apple PC guy lookalike, followed by lots of people saying “I’m a PC” and the final “Windows – Life without Walls” graphic.
As for this being effective or not – for me the question was answered when my wife – a middle class 30-something marketing professional (presumably in the demographic that these ads are aimed at) – said something to the effect of “I don’t understand! Why I’m a PC?”
That’s just one example of why these ads don’t work: the Mojave Experiment made a point (until Microsoft shot themselves in the foot with all the Windows 7 news and speculation about a 2009 release effectively killing Vista off prematurely); Windows without Walls works (especially with the recent web services announcements); Gates and Seinfeld – probably best not yo go there; but as for I’m a PC? It’s fine to be highlighing all the things that a billion people do with PCs… but this campaign is just not hitting the mark.
[Update: 11 November 2008]: In conversation, Garry Martin made a very good point that I failed to comment on in the original post: if you’ve seen the Apple ads, then I’m a PC makes sense and show that PCs are not dull and boring but that they are used for many exciting and worthwhile things across the globe; however, many people in the UK have not seen those ads.
As far as I know, Apple’s Mac vs. PC ads didn’t run on TV here (although there were some UK versions produced which may have done for a short while) – either way they are more of an Internet thing for geeks/Mac fanboys and so most people miss the point entirely – resulting in a confused response to I’m a PC.