Monday, November 15, 2010

Mac vs. PC in a new light

I have mentioned before my current fascination with the importance of story. Today I want to look at the PC vs. Mac debate through the lens of story.  Namely, in the marketing of these products, what story are the respective companies telling and which is more compelling?

Now, I must say that I am biased, I am a Mac person.  I own an i-everything.   After four PCs, none of which lasted more than two years, I switched in 2002 to Mac and have never gone back.  My five year old iMac still runs like a champ and has never been formatted, defragged, upgraded, or any other hullabaloo. OK: mini-rant over.

Every Apple commercial that comes on, both my wife and I are riveted.  We watch in amazement, coveting the product.  The new macbook Air is the latest.  I don't even particularly want a macbook Air, in fact, if I got a new computer right now, it would be the latest macbook or macbook pro, or maybe the big iBook.  Yet, the commercial just grabs me.  Why?  I think that the answer lies in a statement a good friend of mine made in Seminary as he watched the sleep light on my new iBook pulse in and out.  He said something like this. "Wow, it looks like it is breathing.  Microsoft makes computers, Apple makes computers with a soul."

I think this is the genius of Apple's advertising.  Their products have a personality.  Notice the commercials: the products are front and center.  We see the iPad, full screen, doing what it does.  We see the macbook Air, full screen, only catching a glimpse of the hand carrying it.  We see the new iPod shuffle being moved to various parts of the ever changing clothes of the ones listening to it.  Many of these adds do not even need words.  The character of the product itself carries the commercial.

Notice that in Apple commercials, there is almost no discussion of how reliable the product is, how smooth it runs.  Leave those claims to PC, because everyone knows that PC's have reliability problems.  No, with Apple, it is a creation of a product with a personality.  And that personality: a winning, young, hip, sophisticated and versatile 20 something that is impossible not to love.  You feel like the iPhone will be your new best friend, and I must say, it comes close.

Check out this video which poignantly points out the difference between the marketing of Apple and PC products. 

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