So this month, there’s a new kerfuffle in the eternal PC vs. Mac culture war. (Please keep in mind that I am reporting from the front lines as someone who uses both platforms pretty much daily; I even do the same tasks, like writing and audio editing, on both.) After three years of unsuccessfully being able to counter Apple’s fantastic “I’m a Mac and I’m a PC” campaign, Microsoft has now launched the “Laptop Hunters” campaign, wherein they tell people to go find a PC on a budget; if they find one that suits their needs, Microsoft will buy it for them. Two such ads star Lauren and Giampaolo. These cheery young leaders of tomorrow consider and like Macs but cannot afford them, so they buy PCs instead and do not feel like they are settling for less.
Naturally, this made the world explode to the point where Newsweek had to cover it. Lauren is an actress, they say. (Could someone be an actress and in the market for a computer? That’s crazy!) The whole thing was scripted and fake, they say. It’s offensive and borders on a personal insult to Steve Jobs and his family, they say. And you can see she never even enters the Mac store, they say.
And who is the “they,” making most of the noise? Mac zealots. Of course.
Look, here’s the fucking truth: Mac people are like Nintendo people. You say anything negative about their platform and they get bent out of shape — not just defensive, they counterattack. (I liked the folks who got upset about the ad making Mac people sound like elitist jerks…and then blogged in their own defense about it to cement the stereotype.) God forbid someone buy a cheap PC laptop and live happily ever after. How would such a thing threaten you?
If you love your product, use your product. You don’t have to slam every other product out there. Because if you do, you look like an insecure douchebag with a superiority complex. Out here in the real world, we like Macintosh. We’re just sick of you.
What’s more, Mac/Nintendo people like to feel superior because they refuse to use anything other than their chosen brand. As a result they often don’t know what they are missing; they don’t have a rational view of the world because they are shutting out information that they might actually find useful or interesting. I am not saying they have to fall out of love with whatever it was that popped their technological cherry; I’m saying they are willfully ignorant and have somehow convinced themselves that that is a good thing.
Did Microsoft play dirty with this ad campaign? Maybe. That video of her not entering the store certainly makes it look like she never went in or it the walker is also an actor, so they did a second take. Either way, yeah, that’s shitty. Was it scripted? Maybe; I would not be too surprised. And if it was staged, that would be a further drag, because there are people who do feel like Lauren is shown to feel. Unfortunately they aren’t necessarily cute redheads. (If you are a cute redhead and you use a PC, please send me a photo. I have a collection.) But, you know, everybody who uses a PC is not using a PC because they are the unwashed masses. Some Mac people choose Mac; others show up to to work and it’s on their desk. Similarly, some people use PCs because they have to; other Windows people actually choose Windows. And Mac zealots are dangerous because they won’t accept that. Not that they can’t; they simply refuse. They are ideological extremists, and frankly, they are terrifying.
Bottom line: Is advertising truth? No. Stop looking for some sort of empirical fact in a message designed to influence. When it comes to commercials, both Microsoft and Apple are stacking the deck. If you think you’re being dealt anything but a crooked deck, you’re the joker.
In the meantime, shut the holy fuck up and do something useful with your computer of choice. Use your Mac or PC and, say, cure diseases. I do. On both.