Laptop Hunters: No, Not THAT Lauren, The OTHER One!

LaptopHunter_Lauren#2

Another Laptop Hunter ad is upon us, and with five of these babies under our belt it’s time to step back and see what, if anything, works, and what doesn’t.

It’s not hard to see the predicament Microsoft is in. It wants to push Windows machines yet is hamstrung by the following:

  • It can’t sell the operating system because “the V word” is pure poison.
  • It can’t sell the user experience because it can’t talk about the OS.
  • It can’t sell productivity out of the box because it’s got nothing to compete with iLife.
  • It can’t sell service or support because the perception is it’s all finger-pointing between hardware and software vendors.
  • It can’t sell quality because PC makers have no reputation (or a bad one) in this area.

In short, all it thinks it has is price. Well, when you don’t include any of the above, it should be easy to make your product cheap, and the PC community has proven this time and again.

Even if price is one weapon, you need more. You need to engage, or be funny, or be humble, or clever, or have some other catch. And, most important of all, you need to be likable.

Really, you need Lauren #1.

Seriously, of the five ads in the series, three of them are just silly. Giampaulo claimed to be tech-savvy and then went on to show that he isn’t. Sheila said she wanted to “cut video,” yet mentioned nothing about the software necessary for that task. Lauren #2 is going to be a lawyer, yet proved she’s not very bright — if you want a 13″ laptop with a budget of $1,700, why look at a 15″ laptop that’s $2,000?

Despite the attempt to depict “real people” shopping for a laptop, this latest ad seems awfully staged. Apple has excellent laptops that fit her requirements, yet they were ignored completely while she took the money and ran. She’ll probably make a great lawyer.

The first ad in this series was the only one that was even remotely effective. I took issue with it, but compared to the others it’s a thing of beauty.

I’d love to say this was due solely to Lauren #1. She’s cute, acted well, and was engaging and infectious. To be sure, that’s a big part of the ad’s appeal. But another key to its effectiveness was the price point chosen: $1,000. Apple has only one machine there (and not even one, if tax is figured in) which Lauren #1 easily blew off by saying she wanted a big screen. Further, Lauren #1 didn’t claim to be brilliant, or a professional, or tech-savvy, or any of that crap. She’s the only one who was believable, even if she was acting.

So, Microsoft, I’m begging you to bring back Lauren #1. Give her the same $1,000 budget so she can easily rule out a Mac, but have her get something, say, more portable this time. No one will question that she’s looking for another PC so soon; no one expected her to be happy with the first one for more than a couple months anyway.

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