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Apple vs. Microsoft Ad Campaigns: Measuring Viral Video Performance

Our friends at VisibleMeasures have put together some data regarding Apple’s ‘Get a Mac’ ads, and Microsoft’s recent $300 million ad campaign. Interestingly, Apple’s most recent ads (Bean Counter, V Word and Bake Sale), garnered twice as placements, not views as Microsoft’s ‘I’m a PC’ campaign. When comparing views, Microsoft’s ads received 1.7 million views in their first week, compared to Apple’s 1.2 million.

The advertising battle between both companies has become very heated recently. Apple is known for showing very little restraint when it comes to poking fun at Vista, and Microsoft’s blown $300 million ad campaign, which first started out with the Seinfeld+Gates bits.

As it turns out, Apple’s ‘Get a Mac’ commercials have received twice as many placements (unique copies of the videos) as many times as Microsoft’s. “The Apple ads — which were part of the same “Get a Mac” campaign that has been running for a long time now — attracted 70% of the total first-week viral video views as the brand-spanking-new “I’m a PC” campaign. And while it’s tough to predict future view count growth, these Apple ads have garnered twice as many video placements (140+) as the Microsoft campaign (70+),” Cutler explains. “Apple’s recent additions to its Get a Mac series have received significant viral video interest so far, generating over 140 different placements that collectively have driven almost 1.2 million views and attracted over 800 comments. These results indicate that this long-running campaign has managed to stay fresh and maintain the audience interest over the long haul.”

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To see if Apple was able to blunt Microsoft’s attempt to reshape consumer perception of Windows, we tapped our Viral Reach Database to identify and measure the viral video placements from each campaigns. And since Microsoft’s campaign has been in-market for over a month while the Apple ads were released in mid-October, we compared only the first seven days for each campaign, Matt Cutler explains for Visible Measures.

These first week results reveal that Apple’s viral video offensive made significant headway against Microsoft’s message. Apple’s three new spots scored 70% of the viral video views that the much-discussed “I’m a PC” initially generated. And the view count totals are only part of the story, as these new Apple ads have inspired twice as many viral video placements (i.e. distinct videos with their own URL) as the Microsoft “I’m a PC” campaign.

As shown in the results above, Microsoft’s original Seinfeld+Gates were the most successful for the company. Perhaps if they had stuck with the campaign, it would’ve been more effective. Having spied on Cupertino for so many years, a company as big as Microsoft should understand that developing strong brand loyalty and recognition isn’t an overnight thing. In all fairness, we first heard that the Seinfeld+Gates commercials were “just on hold,” not canceled. It’s believed that Microsoft has a few more commercials/segments done, only they aren’t airing them.

Apple’s most recent commercials (Bake Sale, V Word and Bean Counter) weren’t totally digested positively by many people. They were so strikingly aggressive, that many wondered whether they were doing good, more so than they were tarnishing the Apple brand. When the commercials first aired, it wasn’t long before they were being compared to slanderous political campaigns. Even though Apple is known for not showing restraint, many believed these particular ads to be slightly more “cut-throat” than the others.

Both companies are actively airing their latest commercials, appealing to the target demographic they believe is the most important. While Microsoft focuses on showcasing Windows as “life without walls” and claiming that “everyone in the world” is a PC, Apple aggressively pokes fun at Microsoft’s blunders with Vista, and their inability to fix its ailing issues.

Both Apple and Microsoft’s commercials attract eyeballs, which at the core is most important for any advertising campaign. So for each respective company, the directly measured “buzz” around each ad, might be more than sufficient. After all, it doesn’t matter what we’re saying, as long as we’re talking about it.

All of the data in the research was collected from Visible Measure’s Viral Reach Database. Which as they put it best is a “a constantly growing video repository of analytic data on 100+ million Internet videos from 150+ video-sharing destinations.”
Thanx to our friends at Visible Measures for the data.

Comments [10]

10 Comments to “Apple vs. Microsoft Ad Campaigns: Measuring Viral Video Performance”

evolution @ October 28th, 2008 at 4:30 pm
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I liked the Seinfeld/Gates ones, the one with the family is great.

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sowhat @ October 28th, 2008 at 4:31 pm
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I’m not too partial to any of these campaigns. I think the iPod commercials are best because you see most of the product, and you see it in use. These commercials are just slander. Trashing one another, hoping to make their “image” better.

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wow @ October 28th, 2008 at 4:33 pm
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Wow, you like the iPod commercials best? Wow. The iPod is nearly extinct bro.

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DCGOD @ October 28th, 2008 at 4:34 pm
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VIVA – iPOD !!!!!!!!!!! (I wish I could make this text bigger)

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jojo22 @ October 28th, 2008 at 4:36 pm
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the thing is, as an avid Apple user and lover of their products, I find myself skimming through their new commercials… it’s just more of the same… yeah, i’ll watch them regardless, but… I actually PAY ATTENTION during Microsoft’s campaign, plus.. I’ll always love Gates.

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Aviv @ October 28th, 2008 at 4:38 pm
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jojo, you have to remember that you’re paying attention to Microsoft’s commercials because it’s something brand new that they’ve never done before. Historically, when Bill Gates talk, people listen, and when Jerry Seinfeld talk, people laugh… Combined, this is bound to attract eyeballs and make people pay attention through the entire commercial. I’m sure if Apple released a commercial with, let’s say Robin Williams, and he was interacting with Steve Jobs, I’m sure you’d listen closely.

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LOUg @ October 28th, 2008 at 5:16 pm
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I actually found Apple’s Bean Counter ad absolutely friggin hilarious !!!

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LOUg @ October 28th, 2008 at 5:17 pm
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Actually, now that I watched them again… V Word is hilarious too. I think it’s just cause Microsoft has so many HUGE public blunders… Just so many.

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Andre Richards @ October 28th, 2008 at 7:19 pm
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Problem is, Microsoft flinched. And that makes them look big and dumb and slow. They should never have responded to Apple’s ads at all. Since they did, it lends some credibility to Apple’s claims. I mean, if there’s no truth to them, why lower yourself to responding? It looks overly defensive. Think back to the Pepsi-vs-Coke wars in the 80s. If a small competitor is biting at your heels and you react, you lose. Whoever pushed for MS to respond to these ads should be dismissed from MS (and I’m betting it’s Ballmer.)

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Aviv @ October 28th, 2008 at 8:46 pm
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I see your point Andre. But I find it hard to believe Ballmer alone was behind the campaign. Gates was in them, and I’m sure most of Microsoft’s marketing/branding execs were heavily involved. I think the bigger problem is how absolutely out of touch Microsoft is from their customer base… Or whatever is left of it.

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