Life without walls, and clichés.

This blog is about cultural differences. It's also a cliché-buster. As a result, I welcome the new Microsoft campaign in the UK with some anticipation. It was released this week-end during the first break of X-Factor and I kind of like it.

Life without walls.

You might know the Get a Mac campaign where two people, one embodying a PC, the other representing a MAC are having a casual chat about the difference there are between each other. A great campaign that has contributed to reposition the Apple brand in the IT world instead of being cornered as a mere mp3 player manufacturer enable to last more than a year.

Such competitive ads are usually the lot of Coke vs Pepsi or Nike vs Reebok in the US, but the are rarely deployed globaly because of legislation constraints around copyrights and trade marks. Nevertheless the Mac campaign has made its way through the internet, and became cult to the point of being spoofed which as I wrote earlier a great indicator of a marketing break through. The thing though is that when such an aggressive reach is started, it is expected to see a response coming. But in the case of the Mac vs PC, no one picked up the glove. Why? Because too many should have, and nobody really did.

Mac is promoting both hardware and an operating system. It is therefore attacking the PC-manufacturers, i.e. the HP, Dell and other Lenovo, but also their operating system provided by Microsoft. HP had a try but avoided the direct confrontation with their campaign The Computer is Personal Again developed by Goodby, Silverstein and Partners, relayed by Publicis around the world. But let's face it this campaign is more about trying to bring some life into a cold conglomerate of transistors than responding to a direct attack from the competition...

Waiting for a sign.

I don't know you, but I have been using a PC for quite a while, since I got my first computer in fact. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had a go at MACs in my previous agency life, mostly because if you are a creative you have to hang around with a slick Apple laptop under your arm. That is as much part of the uniform as ironic T-Shirt or flashy sneakers. But I could not really find a reason to prefer them. And just like the vast majority of the world-wide population I was quite enjoying my windows-based PC.

So when I initially saw the MAC ads, they made me smile, but on the back of my mind, I was not very happy that a brand was taking the piss, and projecting an image of me as an overweighted nerd with heavy-glasses and perfect, though oily parting. I may be a PC-user, but my parting belongs to long forgotten memories and I have lost some weight recently (thanks for asking). I also droped my Kakis pants, so to speak, long ago and wear as often jeans as casual suits. I was really expecting someone to step in, someone who would give me a sign that my ordeal was over. And the sign came, well not really a sign but a jiggle, straight from Redmond, WA:

The empire strikes back.

The hell with the clichés, and thank you Bill for letting me know that you had heard my complaint, and something was coming. Even if I did not dare verbalising it earlier, I was frustrated and am now glad that Microsoft decide to fight back on my behalf.

Fair enough the response is not aggressive, but that was to be expected from a leader. It's the underdog's role to attempt to create empathy. The creative execution is not ground breaking either, even if produced by one of the most paradigm-shifting hotshop in the world, Crispin Porter + Bogusky. Nevertheless the consu,er insight is damn right: there are so many people using PCs around the world that you cannot confine them in a nerd costume. They are way more diverse than that:

So let's put it this way, I am a PC and I am open-minded and have convictions, different and similar to many at the same time. I am a PC and I wear suits and funky T-shirts (and sometimes both simultaneously). I am a PC and I write a blog on cultural differences. I am a PC and respect people who opted for MAC.

I'm a PC Large


  1. That post just put a smaile on my face! :)
    I love the last advertisement...

    You should have a word with Sandrine about her Mac addcition ;)

  2. I am a PC and... keen of "I am" campaigns :-)
    Marie-anne from Orange