Lauren has $1000 to buy a laptop that has speed, a comfortable keyboard, and a 17 inch screen. She goes into the Apple store but comes out empty handed. The only laptop even close had a 13 inch screen and cost too much. Lauren says “I’m just not cool enough to be a Mac person”. She goes to Best Buy and finds a 17' inch HP laptop for just $700. The ad closes with “I’m a PC, and I got just what I wanted”.
TechMeme is abuzz with reactions to the Laptop Hunters $1000 ad. This is the latest in the “I’m a PC” ad series that shows a wide variety of people who use PCs to do their work, learn at school, and discover at home. The point of the ads is that people use PCs to do amazing things…and PCs are far less expensive than the competition.
Todd Bishop at TechFlash did a side by side feature and cost comparison. The PC priced out at $699 and the comparable Mac was $2,799. That is $2,100 difference. See the chart below from Todd Bishop’s story.
Just for fun I went to the Apple site to search for the lowest priced MacBook and compared features. Prices start at $1,299 for a MacBook with a 13.3 inch screen, 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB memory, 160GB hard drive, and an 8X CD/DVD drive. There is also something called a MacBook White, with similar specs, for $999. Still way more expensive than the 17 inch HP, and it has 50% less memory, and half the hard disk capacity. The 15 inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,999, and the 17 inch starts at $2,799. Those are huge price differences for comparable specs. Today, laptops from Apple and PC manufacturers have standard off the shelf components from suppliers like Intel, AMD, Seagate, Micron, and others.
People do pay more for brand names, but 2X to 3X more? A small segment of the market will pay 3X more for Prada shoes. Is it worth it? Not to most people, but that is capitalism at work. Choices to fit every need and desire.
The rumor is that Microsoft's ad agency put an anonymous ad on Craigslist and looking volunteers for “market research” on laptops. They picked several people, gave them budgets at different price points, and sent them out shopping for laptops. Camera crews followed them around on their shopping trips to record their experiences. As an incentive, they got to keep the laptop that met their specs and budget. Not sure about the details, but however they did it, the commercials are fun, and make the point in a memorable way. If you haven’t seen the ads, click on the video above. It is about 60 seconds.