Even though I have a fancy DVR, I actually don’t mind sitting through commercials. I sort of enjoy complaining about the awful ones, and some are actually pretty good. One of my favorites is the “Mac vs. PC” series from the last few years.
PC vs. Mac ad
The series obviously had extremely wide appeal. Microsoft, tired of being associated with a flustered, jealous, pitiful businessman, released the “I’m a PC” series to let us know that Obama supporters and goth kids use PCs too.
And as with all good commercial concepts, the imitations came quickly. Verizon, sorely regretting their decision to reject the iPhone, tried to capitalize on the Mac-fandom by releasing a very Mac vs. PC style commercial series of their own. They feature a FiOS guy and a red-bearded “cable” guy.
Here’s why these commercials make me scratch my head — I hate the FiOS guy and feel sympathy for the funnier, beardier cable guy. Let’s face it, the FiOS guy is a dick. Why is he carrying around his stupid JD Power and Associates trophy while he’s out installing FiOS? And why is he always trying to pick a fight with that poor cable guy?
I think they tried to copy something without thinking it all the way through. The Mac commercials work because they’re not explaining why Mac is better, they’re just showing it. The Mac isn’t cocky or aggressive or explaining technical details, he just stands there and reacts to whatever the PC has gotten himself into. The FiOS guy, on the other hand, comes off as a cocky, arrogant jerk who can’t help himself when it comes to bragging. I doubt that’s the image they were looking for.
For all I know, these ads are working anyway. But they make me want to order cable from the funny guy with the fantastic beard, and tell the FiOS guy where he can stick that JD Power trophy. There’s nothing wrong with copying a general idea that works and adapting it to your own scenario, but you have to do more than just copy the general idea.
You have to understand why the original works, and use that to your advantage.