The NY Times wrote a piece on Microsoft’s “I’m a PC” advertising campaign in September. I know…I’m a little late to this party.
In the article, titled “Echoing the Campaign of a Rival, Microsoft Aims to Redefine ‘I’m a PC’,” the NY Times the campaign to other David and Goliath stories of the past – Hertz vs. Avis, and Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi. Sometimes the smaller player can sneak up on a market leader that is asleep – basking in the glory of being number 1. As the article mentions, “ignoring the taunts [of the smaller rival] can damage images and sales.”
The article goes on to mention that when the mindless teaser ads about nothing – featuring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld – started to run on September 4, the “buzz” on Microsoft was 25% positive and 13% negative. Within five days, it had turned around to 28% positive and 8% negative.
It is said that counterstrikes like this are typical for Crispin Porter & Bogusky, the agency behind the campaign. Rob Reilly, partner at Crispin Porter, said in the article, “you can ignore it, or you can find a clever way to embrace it, to hug it to death, to turn it to your advantage.”
This is the same way that other companies have embraced a not-so-pretty image and made it their own. Best Buy embraced the perception of their salespeople launched the Geek Squad, which has become a type of counter-culture – and the basis of the TV series, Chuck, about a computer geek who helps save the government from assassins and terrorists. The Geek Squad members even present a fake badge when showing up at your door.
I think that the “I’m a PC” campaign is genius – I definitely watch the commercials when they come on. I’m anxiously awaiting Apple’s next move.