May 3, 2008

Truth In Advertising

As I noted in "The Real Digital Revolution" one of the biggest changes in the way advertising works is that if you aren't 100% honest, people are going to call you on it.

And sometimes those people are going to be your competitors.

The above video (via Ad Age) which has already gotten close to 700,000 hits on YouTube, points out some of the extras that you'll need with the "fits in an envelope" Macbook Air. And contrasts it with the no-extras-necessay Lenovo ThinkPad.

Without going into the whole Mac vs. PC conundrum, I'm wondering what effect this will have on Apple's reputation for simplicity and A+ design. And if it will help Lenovo regain the luster of the ThinkPad brand.

Given the seemingly high production value, I'm wondering if any of you know who did this-- Oglivy (Lenovo's ad agency, the last time I checked) or someone else?


Anonymous said...

it's a brave attempt but it doesn't work. Apple towers over lenovo and their fat and boring looking dell-looking black box.

and i'm not sure what their message was. you can plug lots of stuff into any laptop. surely.

they're being negative. and apple is about positivity. so apple wins.

i recommend you read "Inside Steve's mind' btw. great book about Steve Jobs. he's a visionary.

and it always makes me laugh when people take an anti-apple stance, just to be contrarian i think. microsoft is UGLY. and therefore not sexy.

Alan Wolk said...

@TSR: I hear you on Apple and design, but it was my understanding that this time even Applistas were less than thrilled about the Airbook's need for all sorts of extras and this was what Lenovo was tapping into.

(To wit, from a review: "The biggest compromises, which have been well-documented, come in its connectivity: The MacBook Air finds room for only one USB port and doesn't include a built-in optical drive, FireWire, Ethernet, or mobile broadband." Now one car argue that this is not what the MacBook Air was intended to be, so to your point, this might not be the best example. I found it interesting though, because it shows that even a much-loved, seems-to-do-everything-right company like Apple is vulnerable- justified or not.)

Anonymous said...

But if all they are saying is that they are thinnest, it is not unlike AMC Pacer which was introduced as the First Wide Small Car, and had many of the same ill-conceived features as its other cars. But it WAS wide.

Anonymous said...

i'm guessing anyone who buys an airbook is a real hardcore apple fan. and is well versed on the limitations of the product.

to my mind the airbook is more akin to the Dodge prowler. it's a concept product. just proof of how far apple is pushing things. i'll probably own the slightly bulkier version in three years.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Toad's Sixth Reader, the AirBook is a product designed for Jobs to pull it out of an envelope, for people to play with at Apple stores and to confirm Apple as was a branding exercise.

It's funny that the true ThinkPad competition are the MacBooks, which are superior. Speaking of truth in advertising, I think that Lenovo is trying to pull a fast one and that consumers will see through it.

Ross Cauvel said...

There's so many flaws with this ad, but it reminds me of a great saying in advertising that I'm going to befuddle. "Anyone can think of a great idea, it takes brilliance to execute it."

There's no magic in this ad. The envelope ripping as a climax? Boring.

It would have been much better if there was two envelopes. The hand opens one and pulls out a macbook air. Then starts pulling out all of the components. After all of the apple stuff is out, the hand opens the other envelope and just pulls out the thinkpad.

Either way, probably not a good idea to spoof your competitors ad in an industry that places such a high priority on inventive thinking.

Alan Wolk said...

Hey Ross. Welcome to the Toad Stool and thanks for commenting.

Here's the deal: you're right- this could have been done a lot better under the One Show Rules for Great TV Commercials and your suggestions make a lot of sense.

But in the YouTube world, it just has to make a point, it doesn't have to be good. In fact, I'd suspect that the 850,000 plus people who watched this video to date didn't really pay much attention to the production value or nuances, focusing instead on the message that "this time Mac sucks" (e.g. they're PC enthusiasts and they're not all that concerned with nuances.)

Not remotely suggesting we throw craft out the window, just noting that in cases like this, it is often lost on the intended audience.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a hard-core mac fan, so when I judge a mac I judge it on design, function and cost. And I would not buy the stupid air book with it's excess bloody cords and plugins. I'd trip of all that shit.

Nor do I think that its such a great example of mac's forward thinking. If they had such great forward thinking, they could have fit all the plugs and cords INTO the Air book. Otherwise all they've done is make a pretty showy computer, what's the point of that?