The Apple community barks back at an ad that’s touched a nerve, claiming several elements of the clip are faked.
Methinks they doth protest too much.
The new Microsoft TV commercial, which went on heavy prime time rotate in the US over the weekend, features “spunky, cute-but-seemingly-obtainable” Lauren, who goes shopping for laptop - and chooses a Windows PC over a Mac after finding it half the price.
The clip, which zeroes in on Apple’s weak point, has hit a nerve with the die-hard Mac community, which has blogged a number of conspiracy theories about how the ad was "faked" (Fortune collects them here).
But as a counter-attack, it’s pretty lame.
The main focus is that Lauren is an “actress” as revealed by an AP report. But the Mac-heads should re-read the AP story. It doesn’t say an actress plays Lauren, it says Lauren is a real person, recruited via Craigslist, who was really in the market for a laptop. It just happens that as well as being an office manager, Lauren - as in the real-life woman - is a part-time actress too.
As the so-called revelatory AP article details, Lauren didn't know that responding to the Craigslist ad would lead to a commercial. She wasn't told until the shopping day.
What would it have mattered if Lauren had been played by an actress?
It’s not as if anybody really believes “Mac Guy” is really a computer, or Vince Martin actually works for Beaurepaires.
Another point of conspiracy (illustrated by stills of a bystander; can't beat stills for a good conspiracy theory): Lauren only spent seconds in the Apple Store. Again, whatever. It's not as if Apple would let Microsoft film a commercial in one of its stores - or vice versa.
Most hilariously, one Mac site notes that Lauren is wearing blue (she's in denim) and green (her scarf) to subliminally promote Microsoft's colours. Clearly, she's in on it.
A fourth point: HP’s $US699 Pavilion DV7, the model Lauren chooses, is cheap and nasty.
Mac-heads point to a vicious Computerworld US review of the DV7. But it’s a pretty OTT piece, written in the immediate, emotional (yes, emotional) wake of the controversy by one Seth Weintraub, whose blog is called Apple Ink. I’ve recently been using a model in the DV7 - with the Windows 7 beta - and its fine. US PC World has a more balanced review, noting a couple of the same drawbacks as Computerworld but giving it a very solid 83 out of 100 overall.
The Apple camp shouldn’t act so insecure.
There’s no question, at all that the average MacBook is streets ahead in design, and cool, than the average Windows notebook. The unibody models are breath-taking, and unrivalled.
But equally, there’s no doubt that they’re too expensive. But the key point is that Apple rips off its own fans as much as it puts off Mac-curious Windows users. Mac-heads, point your anger in the right direction.