Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 26th Nov 2013 23:03 UTC

Microsoft has enlisted the reality-television series "Pawn Stars" in its ongoing campaign to bash rival Google.

An online video ad released Tuesday mimics the plot set up of "Pawn Stars," which features people toting precious or odd objects for appraisal at a Las Vegas pawn shop. In Microsoft's fictional telling, a woman is trying to trade in a Chromebook, a no-frills laptop powered by Google software.

"The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste, they have absolutely no taste."

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I think generally it's best to avoid mentioning competitors. Quite obviously at a most basic level you're providing them with free advertising. However in some instances it does make sense. The old “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” campaign was great.

- Apple was coming back form obscurity
- Apple was the underdog and mentioning MS in the ad raised Apple’s profile by taking on the dominant force in the industry.
- Apple was redefining itself as cool against the an MS that was getting stale. because..
- Apple was pitching it’s benefits and comparing them to the status quo.
- It was funny (ish). It was mocking MS without being belligerent.

This MS ad however ticks all the wrong boxes:

- a big company calling out another big company is just acknowledging they’re in the same league
- It’s not funny
- It’s very forced and awkward
- No mention of what makes MS good, only what makes Google bad.

It comes off as desperate and awkward.

Ads are are largely subjective but one can objectively (through sales figures, audience reactions, etc) say the “I”m a Mac, I”m a PC” campaign worked well for Apple. Also, one can can subjectively say the MS’s Pawn Star ad is just terrible. (shame because I quite enjoy the pawn stars show).

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