Microsoft Targets Mac in “Spin Before You Spend” Slot Ads

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Microsoft has begun targeting Apple's Mac platform in series of Web ads titled "Spin Before You Spend." The ads are part of Microsoft's Choose PC campaign, and accompanies online videos of people like "Lauren" choosing a PC laptop and related TV commercials.

The new online ads are currently featured prominently on the New York Times Web site, and include a banner ad and two tile ads on either side of the Times' logo. The banner ads consist of two slot machine wheels -- on one side is a wheel with a washed out Mac and various worthless items, and on the other is a vibrant (if Vista-blue can be considered vibrant) wheel with a cheap PC and other not-worthless peripherals and other items (including the ever-popular 600 diapers).

As the slots spin, and new combinations of Mac+crap and Cheap-PC+not-crap appear, the Windows side lights up. If readers click the "Spin Again" button once the slots stop spinning, the ads are accompanied by slot machine sounds.

Microsoft's "Spin Before You Spend" slot machine ads on the New York Times Web site.

Clicking through on the ad takes you to the "Choose PC" Web page at Microsoft's site. There, people are offered tips on how to choose a cheap PC that is right for them. For instance, are you a cheap gamer? Perhaps a cheap parent? Maybe a cheap jetsetter? Microsoft has the solution for you.

In the commercial with Lauren, she's filmed live (according to the narrator) looking for a 17" laptop for less than a US$1,000. After going into an Apple Store, Lauren comes out saying there was only one laptop for under $1,000, and it only has a 13" screen (the white plastic-cased MacBook). She then goes into a Best Buy where she's able to find a cheap, clunky 17" for $699, which she gets to keep (according to the narrator).

Microsoft's Laptop Hunter commercial featuring Lauren

The new campaign was created by Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the same firm that developed the often-panned Microsoft ads that featured Jerry Seinfeld (this reporter did not pan those commercials, for those keeping score at home).

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AdAge has more on the “Lauren” video spot at <>. I see little reason to doubt that CP+B got their material more or less as they represent. Wait, what am I saying? Remember the PR flack with the stock photo “portrait” caught shilling for MS as a happy, “real” customer some years ago?

Although it pains me to admit it, CP+B have finally figured out how to pitch against Apple to consumers. The spot is a masterpiece of misdirection, as well as anti-Apple anti-snob appeal.

However, Lauren is still stuck with that $700 HP and Vista Home. Hope she’s loving it…


But her FIRST stop was an Apple Store!!

Lee Dronick

But her FIRST stop was an Apple Store!!

No, watch the ad. Her first stop was at the “Mac Store.” Furthermore the Mac Store only had one computer and that had a 13” screen, they must have sold out the iMacs, MacBook Pros, and Mac Pros. Not that any of them were in her budget, the price you pay for being uncool.


She didn’t stay in the store very long.  How did she find out what was available?  Notice the same guy walking in front of the store when she leaves as when she walked in.

Bryan Chaffin

Just to keep things clear, she said “for under a thousand dollars, they only had one computer available.” While that’s clearly not true—Apple also has the Mac mini for under $1,000—she had specified she was looking for a (17”) laptop, making her statement true, if not the whole truth.

Also, the amount of time she spent in the store clearly included an edit in the footage.

I am fascinated by the “I guess I’m not cool enough to be a Mac person” quote the included. I know that’s a phrase that could well find some traction with some folks, but Is Microsoft willingly conceding the cool-person market?


Lee Dronick

MicroSoft conceded the cool factor back in the mid 1980s.

Anyway I was just browsing in Best Buy trying see if I can spot the HP she bought. I think that I did. I can not comment on the performance of it, but the monitor has a narrow field of decent view. Right now I am sitting on some landscaping rocks across ths street and posting this from my iPhone


She not only got what she wanted, she got what she deserved.  wink


Bryan, it seems a rather pathetic ploy for some attention. They don’t make hardware, yet they go on the offensive against Apple who has what, 8% of the computer market while their own OS has over 80%.

But then again, Elephants are afraid of mice. Could Goliath suddenly be realizing he’s vulnerable to David?


I’m too cool to pay $300 for Vista Ultimate 64-bit…


Brian can?t be the only viewer with a functioning sarcasm detector. Geeky-trendy-yet-real ?Lauren? is someone who would consider herself kind of cool, with strong opinions what cool is and isn?t.

Mac buyers are getting zinged for being snobbish airheads who?ll pay whatever Apple wants to charge for, essentially, a fashion label. Computers are like clothing and personal accessories.

I think we all know that label-consciousness works in Apple?s favor with some customers. The ?not cool enough? comment aims to prevent more PC users from joining their ranks. Hatred of the Apple fanboi is a deep well of Windows platform loyalty.

The irony is that ?Lauren? herself uses idiotic selection criteria (?the look of that one is drawing me?) and seems to have scant idea of what underlies the summary specifications (she is just a 17? size queen).

That puts her on the same wavelength with consumers Apple would like to sell to however. Again—nice work, darkside advertising Jedi, leveraging the low-end vulnerability to make Apple look just plain bad all over.


I don’t know robofly, maybe you’re right, but I think M$ might be painting themselves into the cheap corner. The nice price is all well and good, but cheap stinks like a two bit whore. And don’t forget about what you might catch..


As my Dad told me, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”


Too bad no one at the Apple store informed her of the viruses she will be missing.

Brian Cummings

From what I understand, the 17” PC she scored has a screen resolution of 1024 by 768.  Wow, had she stooped really low and bought that silly little Macbook 1”, she would only have 1280 by 800.  Yes, that’s right, in addition to free iPhoto to auto upload to her ultra cool Facebook page, and free iMovie (she did say she wanted to make movies), and free iDVD, and free Garage band, she would have purchased more pixels to pay with.  Likely a bigger hard drive too, but maybe we’ll never know.  She sure out smarted the rest of us.

Lee Dronick

Lauren has made it to Joy of Tech today, 30 March 09


I’d take the pencap and shoelace over Vista any day:)


Windows - life without walls.  Just fence.

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