Microsoft's New Advertising Tactic: Macs Cost Too Much

Microsoft on Thursday launched a new series of ads created by its agency, Crispin + Porter + Bogusky, in which it gave volunteers budgets ranging between US$700 and $2,000 and told them to find a computer that fit their needs. If they could find it, they could keep it, and, of course, the final purchase always involved a Windows machine.

According to the Associated Press, the agency posed as a market research firm looking for volunteers to discuss laptop purchasing decisions. Their first recruit, named Lauren, says she's looking for a laptop with a 17-inch screen and a "comfortable" keyboard for under $1,000, according to the 60-second debut ad. She enters an Apple store but leaves dejected, since all she can purchase with $1,000 is a MacBook, which has a 13-inch screen. "I'm just not cool enough to be a Mac person," she says, noting that she'd have to double her budget to buy a Mac laptop that fit her criteria.

Lauren eventually found what she was looking for at Best Buy, where she scored a Windows laptop for $699. AppleInsider checked the specs of her purchase and found that "it lacks fast wireless 802.11n, fast Gigabit Ethernet, digital audio inputs and outputs, weighs 7.75 pounds, and only features the screen resolution of Apple's 15" notebooks: 1440 by 900. Technically, it is a 17" notebook in terms of size, but it doesn't have the 17" resolution of Apple's MacBook Pro, which is 1920 by 1200." Lauren never discusses hardware or software specs in the commercial, focusing instead on overall look and feel and the keyboard.

Lauren and her new laptop

Microsoft told the AP reporter that none of the 10 people filmed for the new commercials chose a Mac, and none of them knew they were going to appear in a Microsoft ad until after they were done shopping.