Hello again, I’m Vista
Aug 7th 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO
From The Economist print edition
Microsoft hires a hot ad agency in an effort to improve its image
WERE advertisements rather than sales the yardstick, Apple would have dominated the computer industry for decades. First there was the legendary spot “1984”, in that same year, which is often considered the best ad in history. Directed by Ridley Scott, then basking in “Blade Runner” fame, and produced by Chiat/Day, Apple’s advertising agency to this day, it depicted Apple as the individualist and cool brand, in contrast to oppressive conformity, then understood to mean IBM.
如果抛开销售，单论广告，那么这几十年来，电脑界一直都是苹果的天下。先说苹果在1984年播放的传奇广告”1984″。这部短片由当时凭借”Blade Runner” 一片走红的导演Ridley Scott执导，由与苹果合作至今的广告公司Chiat/Day制作，经常被认为是历史上最优秀的广告。片中将苹果描绘的既个性又帅气，与之对比的则是压抑而单调的蓝色人群，后者当时被认为暗指IBM。
Ever since then, the same man, Lee Clow, at what is now TBWA\Chiat\Day, part of Omnicom, a giant marketing group, has been socking it to Apple’s bigger rival, Microsoft. His deadliest work yet is the current “Get a Mac” campaign-better known by its opening lines: “Hello, I’m a Mac-and I’m a PC.” In the American version of the ad, a suave Mac, played by Justin Long, an actor, contrasts with a lovable but decidedly uncool PC, played by John Hodgman, a comedian who has been catapulted to celebrity as a result. The upshot, as ever: Apple’s Mac types are elegantly effective; Microsoft’s PC folks are bumbling plodders.
从那时起，就有一个人坚持竭尽全力打击微软这个苹果更可怕的敌人。他就是供职于今天的TBWA\Chiat\Day的Lee Clow（TBWA\Chiat\Day是庞大的市场营销集团Omnicom的一部分）。目前，他最成功的一击是发起了名叫”买个Mac”的宣传攻势，这个广告以其开场词为人熟知：”–你好，我是Mac。–而我则是电脑。”在该广告的美国版本中，由演员Justin Long扮演的Mac优雅大方，与对比的则是由喜剧演员John Hodgman的可爱但却平庸无奇的普通电脑(他凭借这个广告一夜成名）。广告巩固了苹果的形象：苹果的Mac的购买者雅致而富有活力，用微软电脑的人则是一群装模作样的工作狂。
All this puts Microsoft in the awkward position of having its brand image defined by a rival-despite its own vast advertising budget, which towers above Apple’s. But Microsoft has also made Apple’s task a lot easier. It has made software that, by comparison with Apple’s, is buggy and clunky. Most notoriously, Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows Vista, was first delayed for years, then launched to dreadful reviews and is now selling more slowly than expected, even after big price cuts.
So Microsoft is fighting back. A preliminary salvo, fired last month, was the so-called “Mojave Experiment”-a focus group in San Francisco of 140 volunteers who had not actually tried Vista but professed that they had heard awful things about it. They were then treated to ten-minute demos by a trained expert of a “new” operating system, allegedly called Mojave. They liked what they saw, and when told that this product was in fact Vista, they gasped in shock and delight. The climactic moments, naturally, are available for viewing at www.mojaveexperiment.com.
You could be forgiven for wondering whether Apple had commissioned the advertisement. It was Microsoft at its worst. The “experiment” addressed none of the problems with Vista-the trouble starts when ordinary consumers, not experts, try to use it with their existing hardware-and it felt as authentic as “reality” television.
But Microsoft is also preparing a much bigger attack. Earlier this year the firm caused a stir when it passed over its previous advertising agencies and chose Crispin Porter + Bogusky, arguably the hottest agency today, to put together a campaign rumoured to be costing $300m. Crispin’s brief is to come up with an answer to Apple’s campaign that does not feel reactive, and somehow makes Microsoft look cool.
不过微软还在准备更大的攻势。今年早些时候微软抛弃了以前合作的广告公司，选择了现今差不多最火辣的广告公司Crispin Porter + Bogusky来策划一场据说耗资3亿美元的宣传攻势，当时为这事还激起了些波澜。Crispin的任务主要是设计一个对苹果的宣传攻势的回应方案，这个方案不能显得过于被动，还要让微软看上去帅气一些。
By reputation, Crispin, based in Miami and Boulder, Colorado, might be the one agency that could pull off such a miracle. Its creative star is Alex Bogusky, though he has now risen to management level. In recent years, Crispin has revived, among other brands, Burger King, while coming up with admired campaigns for the Mini and Volkswagen. That said, there have also been flops, such as the baffling “Algorithm” campaign for Ask.com, which seemed to promote its larger rival Google.
Making Microsoft sexy is certain to be Crispin’s biggest challenge yet, as its creative types are surely aware-since they, in line with the rest of their industry, overwhelmingly own and use Macs. But it may be possible. Apple’s campaign has left itself vulnerable in at least one unforeseen way. Although everyone watching its spots agrees that Macs are cooler, most people also adore Mr Hodgman’s PC. By contrast, Mr Long’s Mac comes across as mildly but increasingly smug and irritating.