PCs Wear Many Hats, and Suits, and Some Wear Glasses, or Don't


"I'm a PC and I sell fish!"

Say what you will about the Microsoft/Seinfeld ad campaign (or "Phase I" of a grander design), it's hard not to like these fresh-out "I'm a PC" ads.

The spots -- quirky, friendly and feel-good -- debuted last night during The Office. See all three below.

o "I'm a PC, and I've Been Made into a Stereotype" -- featuring the John Hodgman lookalike, as well as Eva Longoria, Deepak Chopra, Pharrell Williams, Bill Gates and other PC lovers representin'.

o "I'm a PC and I Wear a Suit" -- and not all are created equal.

o "I'm a PC and I am Not Alone" -- a little language play here.

Nice tagline, too: "Windows - life without walls."

The ads were positioned as a response to Apple's ultra-popular "Mac vs. PC" ads, which typecast PCs as stodgy, inefficient and even feebly malicious. The campaign was generally well-received -- but of late it's begun to rub people the wrong way, which could work in Microsoft's favor.

"The [Apple] ads aren't quite as funny anymore," Michael Arrington laments in the link above. And while he felt the new Microsoft spots "aren't particularly engaging," he admits they "show lots of fascinating people saying that they use PCs" -- and that don't fit into the hole Apple carved out for them.

The effort is charming, lively and even proud. This isn't just a defensive strategy; it's a battle-cry for PC users marginalized by Apple's elitist position, which too casually snarls, "If you're not with us, you're against us -- and ugly, too."

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really? really? looks like a bad grey new york spot. just the kind of formulaic bad ad monster.com parodied years ago in their great super bowl spot. yikes.

Posted by: what? on September 19, 2008 1:34 PM

really? really? looks like a bad grey new york spot. just the kind of formulaic bad ad monster.com parodied years ago in their great super bowl spot. yikes.

Posted by: what? on September 19, 2008 1:36 PM

True, true, but what they neglect to mention is that if you don't use a Mac, it's impossible to be creative, attractive, and/or hip. Or is it possible that I've been brainwashed somehow?

Posted by: Jack on September 19, 2008 1:38 PM

Yeah. Seems like a pretty easy go-to. Someone stereotypes you and you say "nay nay." And, "life without walls"? Apple's commercials are in a white space devoid of walls.

But then again, they're freaking computers people.

Posted by: Edward on September 19, 2008 2:18 PM

HAHAH www.helloimapc.com

Posted by: Tommy Twotone on September 19, 2008 3:37 PM

I still hate these spots... have CP+B gone full retard?

Posted by: Kristen Olson on September 19, 2008 5:20 PM

Next thing you know, you're going to start calling the Mac ads "uppity."

These spots remind me of the political speech schtick where candidates mention Mr. Joe Everydayperson to show they're in touch with the little guy. Always feels calculated. As does this casting.

So PCs are popular/useful/Internet-compatible. Not a real news flash. What I want to know is what's good about Vista? Or what is Microsoft going to do to make its OS better? This calculated parade of real people, while very likeable, certainly doesn't enlighten me.

It's telling that CP+B felt the need to start a spot with a Hodgman-esque dude on a white background, as in "Get it?! Mac attack!" Why didn't they trust their "I'm a PC" parade of peeps to stand on their own and keep their message pure?

I was lukewarm to the Seinfeld ads, but at least I could appreciate the attempt there to surprise and communicate in a fresh way. These ads feel factory-made.

Posted by: L in LA on September 19, 2008 6:11 PM

As I headline my post on AdScam... "I'm a PC, and I'm a stereotype." This has been done before. And better. Particularly by GMO for Cisco eight years ago.

Posted by: george parker on September 19, 2008 6:59 PM

Okay, I watched them over and I finally get it. But, I had Dark Side of the Moon on in the background and you have to start the album right when the PC guy says "C." Mindblowing.

Posted by: Edward on September 19, 2008 8:49 PM

Hey, great media buy... The Office.

I can't imagine anyone watching The Office on a regular/weekly basis being anything but "I'm a PC" already, or strapped to one @ the office. I mean really, buying to preach to the already implicated and infirm...?

How you gonna convert anyone? Or get them to buy what they already have. And why would they shift from XP [which sorta works] to Vista which doesn't?

Posted by: Jeff Jones on September 20, 2008 11:22 AM