Surprise. I opened my email inbox this morning and found a message from Apple.
In essence, the message read, “PCs got 114,000 viruses last year. Macs got zero. Get a Mac.”
Whoa, is that an invitation to trouble, or what? Frankly, I am astounded at Apple’s hubris.
It’s one thing to soft pedal the lack of viruses and malware on the Mac, it’s something else again to hype the security Mac users enjoy with virus infection.
Is this an advertising campaign ploy based on desperation to increase Mac sales and market share?
Or, is Apple supremely sure that getting a real virus into the wild on a Mac is so difficult that virus developers won’t even try?
As is always the case with extremes and polarization arguments, the truth is somewhere in between.
Still, I can’t help but be concerned about Apple’s positioning—straddling both poles.
Why is Apple hyping that which is a good selling point but probably should be treated low key, at the sales rep level, rather than blasted in an email campaign?
What’s to prevent virus and malware developers from targeting the Mac?
Apple is throwing down the gauntlet, no?
Advertising is often successful when there are key points of differentiation. The iPod is chic and cool and just works.
The new “I’m a Mac. I’m a PC” ad campaign works because it’s subtle, yet communicates well. PCs are frumpy, grumpy, prone to problems. Macs are chic and cool and they just work.
No wonder 40-millions iPod owners with Windows PCs are paying attention. And buying more Macs
Subtle, soft pedal, pleasant, but effective.
Now there’s another ad campaign, albeit email only so far, that just shouts, “PCs get infected with a 100,000 new viruses a year. Macs don’t. Get a Mac.”
Is Apple entering into a brave new world?
Are PC customers (also known as “switchers”) sufficiently enamored with their iPod and iTunes experience, and sufficiently disgusted with their Windows virus and malware and spyware and problems, to embrace such an ad campaign and finally get a Mac?
Apple seems to think so. I’m not so sure.
What bothers me is the apparent arrogance on Apple’s part, almost inviting virus and malware developers to take a shot at the Mac.
“Come on, geeks. We dare you. Bet you can’t crack a Mac!!”
The email message from Apple which touted the virus differences between Macs and PCs is not subtle.
114,000 viruses? Not on a Mac.
Apple’s email links to a page on the Apple web site which describes more detail:
That’s advertising speak for “PCs bad, Macs good.”
Apple then goes on to point out how security works with Macs and doesn’t with PCs, even calling Windows by name.
As a professional in advertising and public relations, I absolutely love phrases such as this one from Apple’s virus page:
All the pieces are falling into place for a good year or two for Mac sales. 40-million or so Windows users have tried iPod and iTunes and like what they see.
Hundreds of millions of Windows users have devoted countless hours and days cleaning up and fixing their PCs.
Mac users don’t have the same problems. Get a Mac.
Oh, by the way, Macs use Intel chips, just like PCs. And Macs run Windows (just in case you need to).
Except for one thing, all of this bodes well for Apple’s unit sales and Mac market share. What’s the one more thing?
It’s Apple’s not-so-subtle challenge for a crafty developer to make a virus that can run loose in the wild and infect thousands of Macs.
As a woman who’s been in the business for many, many years, that’s a public relations nightmare, and one for which Apple may not be prepared.
When Mac OS X users get hit with a few destructive viruses will the ad campaign change to something like this?
“Windows Vista has 1,238 viruses, Macs only have 39.”
I’m not convinced that’s an advertising campaign I’d be proud of, product differentiation not withstanding.
Is this kind of ad campaign from Apple just effective advertising hype, or is it an invitation for big trouble in the future?
For the former, yes. It will be effective for awhile. Trouble? I fear it will arrive and not be a pleasant experience.