Joe Wilcox has an article on Microsoft Watch about Microsoft’s new ads with kids. The series is called The Rookies, and there’s a second spot up.
Joe is less impressed with the second spot than the first, but goes on to explain how these ads have potential, Microsoft needs more of them (I’m sure more are coming), the kid should get an ‘A’ on the project, etc.
That’s all nice, but it misses an awkward thing about this whole series. Cute? Yes. I’ve liked them both. But then we all know kids and animals are everyone’s favorite commercial subjects. Still, why isn’t anybody stating the obvious? When you’re 4 and a half or 7 years old you have no idea what the phrase “I’m a PC” is supposed to mean.
Joe mentions the buzz Apple got with the old Switcher ads, but those were adults making real decisions. What can these kids do? Explain why mommy or daddy got a PC? Can they even tell us what a “PC” is? If you think Kylie and Alexa wouldn’t have been equally “impressed” if Mom or Dad were using Macs, or Linux, or something by Fisher-Price, you’re kidding yourself.
As near as I can tell, Microsoft has opted to use a group that can’t truly speak for itself. But maybe that was the only choice left:
- They tried getting teens and 20-somethings with “The Social,” and failed.
- They tried getting young adults with “Wow!”, and failed.
- They tried getting older adults with Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates, and failed.
- They tried getting non-technical adults with “Mojave Experiment,” and failed.
- They tried getting any adults with the initial volley of “I’m a PC,” and failed since a) they’ve moved on, and b) each one affirms what Apple has said all along: A Mac is not a PC, it’s better.
So now Microsoft has cute kids — using whatever their parents put in front of them — proclaiming they’re a PC. Fine. Maybe it’ll pull in some sales for them. If so, good for them. Personally, I think Microsoft has had to set the bar too low in terms of who their software is supposed to impress. Then again, Microsoft Live Photo Gallery isn’t likely to impress the average iPhoto user, presuming they’re old enough to make a choice.
For me, I’m less inclined to look for the next Mikey or Oscar Mayer bologna kid in one of these ads, and more curious to see when Microsoft will move on to the next logical group: Animals. With the Super Bowl well out of the way, I’m sure the Budweiser Clydesdales are available.