Apple’s on-page battle between Mac, PC outshines both its target and host

Innovation is the crux of a successful direct marketing campaign. With hordes of marketers trying to reach the same consumers, it takes something special to get noticed. Apple is used to getting noticed. With their clever Mac vs. PC ads, Apple is able to steal users’ attention from the New York Times’ homepage and prove that it still has a few tricks up its sleeve.

Buying multiple inventory slots on the same Web page is nothing new, but having the different properties interact and talk with one another certainly is. I have seen marketers use in-page ad placements together, but this execution where the Mac and PC characters talk to the faux hair advertisement on the other side of the page took me by surprise.

The top ad space that highlights a recent Forrester study is also genius because it looks unassuming enough — until Apple’s iconic characters start debating about it. Adding to the innovative nature of the advertisements is that three ad properties are controlled by the ‘main’ ad with Mac and PC. By syncing up the ads, consumers do not expect the others to come to life.

Utilizing properties on opposite sides of the Web page also helps to capture the attention of consumers. The back and forth between “Before Guy” and PC completely distracted me from the lead story of the day. I didn’t pay any attention to the article until the ad was done — great for Apple, not so good for the Times. It is this coordination and interaction between the ad properties that makes this execution great.

Adding to the wit we have come to know and expect from Mac vs. PC ads plays, this advertisement is well suited for the digital space. It builds on PC’s slow-on-the-uptake persona because he seems just as surprised that ads are talking to him as users. Apple runs a fair amount of advertisements with, which is effective from a targeting perspective because the site attracts a wide cross section of informed, tech-savvy and educated consumers. I was served the advertisement on a weekday morning which also targets the working crowd catching up on their daily news. All in all, this advertisement does everything I could ask of an ad: it grabs my attention, hits home a brand relevant message, and drives a solid call to action. l

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