Despite the fact that there are over 2 billion computers in the world (including servers, desktops and laptops), the digital world is dominated by two companies – Microsoft and Apple. While both companies and their operating systems are very popular, Microsoft has always been more successful. But in 2006, Apple created an ad campaign to take a bigger bite out of the market.
The “I’m a MAC and I’m a PC” ad campaign featured actors Justin Long and John Hodgeman portraying MAC and PC, respectively. Through the casting of these actors, their wardrobe selections and the topics covered in the fun and humorous commercials, PC was characterized as boring, nerdy, older, slower, prone to infection and only good for administrative work. MAC, on the other hand, was shown to be good-looking, young, hip, artistic and suitable for any type of work.
The topics covered in the commercials focused not only on the features and benefits that MAC and PC shared, but also what MAC could do that PC couldn’t. In short, the MAC message was, “Anything PC can do, I can do better. Plus, I can do much more than PC.”
The campaign was very effective with instant results that proved to be enduring, too.
At the end of that first fiscal year following the campaign launch, Apple’s sales increased by 39%, selling 1.3 million units in the 3rd quarter and another 1.6 million in the 4th quarter. During the four-year campaign, Apple sales continued to increase each year, with 3.8 million MACs sold in the 4th quarter of 2010.
In Star Wars, the differences between the Imperials and the Rebels is portrayed very similarly to the way PCs and MACs are in the old campaign. The Imperials are born of bureaucracy, boring, older and slow. Plus, they are so large they have a hard time adapting and fail to address minor issues until they begin to spread. And then, it’s impossible to keep it contained. The Rebels on the other hand are younger, smaller, nimbler and much more adaptable. And they definitely know how to be creative.
In marketing and advertising, it’s important to promote your features and benefits because they create solutions for your clients and customers and solve their pain points. And often times, the difference between you and your competitors is how you promote your products and services. That includes everything you can do better than your competition and everything you can do that they can’t.
Until next time… May the Force be with you.