Apple To Use "Real People" Windows Converts In New Ad Campaign

by , 8:00 AM EDT, June 10th, 2002 reports that Apple is readying a sets of ads that target Windows users. This comes on the heels of reports last week that Apple was considering putting Windows PCs on display in its Apple Stores for side by side comparisons to the Mac OS. From

The "Real People" ads, which will start appearing this week, are directed by documentary filmmaker Errol Morris, director of "The Thin Blue Line."

In an interview, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said the overall campaign will be directed at demonstrating to consumers that they won't get stranded on a technology island if they switch to Apple.

Apple has placed a growing emphasis on targeting PC users over the past year. When it debuted its retail stores just over a year ago, Apple said it was targeting the 95 percent of computer users that are not using a Mac. It has used the tagline "5 down, 95 to go" on occasions since then.

The article titled Apple's "Real People" ad seeks PC crowd, by Ian Fried, points out that Apple has devoted space on their Web site with information aimed at helping PC folks decide to buy a Mac. From the article:

Apple's ads, which will run in Time and Newsweek as well as cable and network television, will point to a part of Apple's Web site that will be devoted to giving information to would-be Mac converts.

In the television ads, the actual Mac owner explains why they gave up the PC. Jobs said the ads are unlike any other, featuring people speaking in their own words without any sets or props. "They're real people," Jobs said. "We didn't tell them what to say."

The New York Times also ran a piece on this on Sunday, including some rather interesting quotes.

"The most important thing for us is that viewers are smart about advertising," [Apple CEO Steve Jobs] said. "We've all had too many tobacco companies tell us they're good guys to believe advertising. We let these people speak for themselves."

He also said he did not think the ads would offend Microsoft, a company that has a relatively fragile relationship with Apple.

"Our relationship with Microsoft is really pretty good," Mr. Jobs said. "What's a few market-share points between friends? It wouldn't matter to them, and we would be eternally grateful."

He said the new campaign would be Apple's largest since the company's "Think Different" campaign, which began in 1998.

You can read the full article in the New York Times, which requires a free subscription. Join in on the discussion of this in our forums.

The Mac Observer Spin:

That's a remarkable statement to come from Steve Jobs. "What's a few market share points between friends?" This about a company that is so obsessed with growing revenues that it harasses charities and schools about buying new Windows licenses for donated and obsolete computers. Oh no, Microsoft will gladly help out Apple with a few points of market share. Or something. As one TMO forum member BlueDjinn commented: " one knows better than Jobs how paranoid & dictatorial Gates is...he has to have one HELL of an ace up his sleeve to make such an obviously "naive" statement!"

The root of this issue is that Apple needs to grow market share now, and everything the company has been doing since the return of Steve Jobs has been to put Apple in the place of readiness it holds today. In other words, for the last 5 or so years, Apple has been fixing the problems of the past while allowing the built in user base take care of revenues. Now the tools are in place for Apple to go after Windows users, which is where any growth for Apple *must* come from.

Fortunately, Apple is being assisted by Microsoft's own marketing, coding, planning, and licensing mistakes, and Apple's opportunities for growth have never been better. There is a lot of dissatisfaction from many Windows users, and some are ready to look at alternatives. While Linux is a great OS in many niches, it still hasn't matured enough for most average users to embrace. That pretty much leaves OS X and Macs as the only other game in town. We haven't seen these advertisements yet so we can't tell you if they are effective or not, but we're happy that Apple is attacking the problem directly.

If you see one of these ads, stop back here and let us know what you think of it.