September 19, 2008, 10:14 AM — The reaction in the Apple blogosphere when Microsoft unceremoniously dumped Jerry Seinfeld from their ad lineup -- going so the far as to leave completed Seinfeld ads in the can -- was swift and derisive. And hey, I wouldn't be an Apple-guy-since-the-first-Bush-administration type if I wasn't feeling just a hint of the schadenfreude myself.
Microsoft's new tack -- the I'm A PC ads, which take Apple's marketing on directly in a way that Redmond has never done before -- has met with similar scorn: "Microsoft's $300 million ad campaign tumbles," "Something Is Fundamentally Wrong," etc. Will they take my new MacBook away, then, if I admit that I find the ads -- in which ordinary folks (and a celebrity or three) defiantly proclaim their PC-ness -- kind of charming?
I think I was most hooked in by the John Hodgman lookalike fellow in the opening, who proclaims "I'm a PC, and I've been reduced to a stereotype." Because here's the dirty little secret about the Apple ads they're spoofing -- John Hodgman is infinitely more appealing than Justin Long. Even you aren't already a fan of his other work, his character in the ads is an endearing and lovable schlub, whereas Long's Mac can grate even on even a young fellow with pretensions of hipsterdom such as myself. I think the Apple ads are quite effective, but you ask people which of the two characters they find more appealing on a personal level, it would probably be Hodgman's PC -- which makes him a good starting point for Microsoft's counter-ads.
But as mildly positive as I feel about the new Microsoft ads, there is one terrible truth about them: they more or less directly acknowledge Apple's existence. And that's not the sort of thing you're supposed to do if you're the monopoly with 90 percent market share, is it?