by writerightpubs~ July 16th 2009
Bear with me. The picture (admittedly a bit of my own whatever) is illustrative of a larger point about technology, the awesomeness of the Mac OS, the ubiquity of The Sports Guy, noise in all manner of communication channels and more.
The Lakers won the 2009 NBA Championship. Kobe has, apparently, not changed. These days, however, the league appears headed for a lockout. The Sports Guy predicted this here. These audiences (the Player’s Association and the League) don’t appear to be effectively communicating with one another (or, at a minimum, aren’t interested in developing messages necessary to meet at a place mutually beneficial to one another). A capsule summary of the problem facing the NBA is that the League has all the power and the players (indeed, everyone) will now be forced to face a new financial reality (unless you’re Goldman Sachs or JP Morgan Chase).
Goldman and JP Morgan are effectively monitoring and ameliorating expectations relative to their financial performance to date. Note how they’re not making a huge deal about their performance; they’re letting the media shape the message. Whatever the bonuses these behemoths are planning to hand out, the investor and public relations departments are going to share the wealth.
Meanwhile, Microsoft appears to be getting under Apple’s skin much in the same way those Mac/PC ads have been sticking it to Microsoft. But is it really less expensive to purchase a PC? People who know me know I’m a huge Apple booster (despite the company’s penchant for purchasing God complex shirts off the rack). What Microsoft elides in their ads is the life cycle cost of ownership of PCs versus Macs. While upfront costs can draw consumers to purchase PCs, analysis has shown costs accruing to customers over the life of ownership either eliminate the savings gained from the PC purchase outright or save Mac owners money.
Who, you might reasonably ask, cares? What’s important to note here is not whether Macs are better than PCs (please.) but the means through which each company has chosen to inform audiences of the advantage of owning its product. Since 1984, Mac has depicted itself as the outsider, above the fray despite being completely in it. The production values in the commercial are incredibly evocative circa 1984. The company has continued to position itself as a concern invested in pleasing its core constituency (folks in the know about technology interested in performance married to design).
Microsoft, meanwhile, has been all about shock and awe, content to dominate the desktop computer and office productivity software markets and, until quite recently, willing to let other dogs lie. These days, though, The Monopolist That Gates Built has undertaken to win over skeptical consumers with ads showing how cool it is, though sometimes they show how cool it isn’t.
Advertising and marketing communications innovations aren’t happening in humongous ad agencies with staffs of 25,000. The great ads are being produced by boutique outfits with cultures inclined toward innovation and that corporate standby, out of the box thinking.