Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lessons of Number 1

Since I'm in "marketing" it would follow that I'd write about some marketing lessons.

Here's one major rule that the top marketers seem to keep forgetting - if you are number 1 in the marketplace, you should NEVER take on number 2. You should not even acknowledge they exist. It is ok for number 2 or number 3 to take on the leader - it gives them the challenger status and everyone loves the underdog. But for Number 1 to take on Number 2 is a mistake.

Why, because then Number 1 looks defensive. They look like they really care about Number 2 or 3.

When Budweiser (the leader) bowed to pressure from Miller (the challenger) after Miller mocked Bud in its ads, it made Bud look like a cry baby. And it drove sales of Miller to an all time high.

So what does this have to do with today's lesson?

Microsoft has come out with a new campaign on the heels of a badly received "teaser" effort featuring Seinfeld and Bill Gates. The new ads proclaim that I'm a PC is a good thing. It is directly taking the piss out of the Apple ads where the "PC" character is some poor shlubby nerd -- actor John Hodgeman -- to be specific. While "Mac" is super coolish Jason Long.

If you remember the rule, Number 1 (Microsoft) should not even acknowledge Number 2 (Apple). But here's where things are squirrelly. Microsoft doesn't really compete with Apple which is a hardware company. Microsoft is a Software company. While the operating system that powers Apple is different. Microsoft has such a huge command of the market, it is puzzling that they see Apple as a competitor.

The reason Apple is the competitor is because Apple took Microsoft (the PC) on in it's advertising.

I have to say however, that I think the new I'm A PC ads by Crispin Porter Bogusky are brilliant. And the reason is because they hijack the PC character. And they show that being a Nerd is ok.

This will be an interesting battle to watch. And maybe a new lesson to learn.

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