The Microsoft Surface ad

By Tom Dougherty
Screen Shot 2021 03 01 at 9.56.12 AM

The Microsoft Surface ad still doesn’t get it

The newest Microsoft Surface ad aims to replicate the brilliant I’m a Mac I’m a PC ads from years ago.

You remember those spots. Starring Justin Long and John Hodgman, they compared the brands as personalities. Watching them, you simply saw yourself as the laid-back, cool Long (Mac).


“The Microsoft Surface ad is akin to a used car salesman trying to tell you all the great features the car contains. Thinking that’s the reason you buy.”

The Microsoft Surface ad also compares the two. Wait. No, it doesn’t. The spot doesn’t compare the brands. It compares product benefits.


I’m sure Microsoft feels the case is closed. The Surface Pro 7 sports a touchscreen, detachable keyboard, and a pen. And it costs less.

However, if the idea is to get consumers to switch from Apple, Microsoft failed. In fact, the Microsoft Surface ad represents what’s often wrong with the Microsoft brand.

For years, the brand has been the laughing stock of brand strategists. Because it was the epitome of jamming so many messages together it was just a jumbled mess.

Microsoft Surface ad isn’t emotional

This one is clearer. But it’s not emotional. Microsoft still thinks consumers buy based on rational thought. No, they buy based on emotional triggers. We simply backfill our choices with rational reasons. After we’ve made the emotional choice.

The Microsoft Surface ad is akin to a used car salesman trying to tell you all the great features the car contains. Thinking that’s the reason you buy.

Microsoft Surface adMicrosoft, however, had the chance to actually claim an emotional ground here. Apple has long built its brand on the idea of being the usurper. “Think Different” it always says.

But Apple is now a monolith. One of the world’s most cash-rich companies. Microsoft could have positioned itself as an emotional, true choice against the behemoth that pretends to be the rebel.

“Don’t get swindled” or something like that would be far more effective than simply listing product benefits.

The result is “I’m a Mac” remains the better choice on an emotional level. You still don’t want to be the PC guy.


See more posts in the following related categories: Apple Apple v Microsoft brand advertising

1 Comment

  1. Grace Farmer

    I got rid of Microsoft because all I lived with was the blue screen of death. My emotion with that piece of crap was over the moon , it’s called extreme anger. The Mac I am using is NINE YEARS OLD. Buying a new one this year when they drop with the M1 chip. Take that Mr. Softie.


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