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MacBytes
Jun 17, 2004, 07:49 PM
Category: News and Press Releases
Link: Half of potential Mac customers chose Apple. (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20040617204923)
Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)

Approved by Mudbug

x86isslow
Jun 17, 2004, 09:00 PM
well, considering that Apple doesnt run commercials about its computers on any regular basis, its no wonder that people don't know the truth about them.

lets see a real commercial- instead of showing a guy getting blown outta his house, perhaps show the OS and its ease of use?!

bousozoku
Jun 17, 2004, 09:06 PM
I think a lot of people still make their decisions of what software they can "borrow" for use on their new machine. I used to talk to people looking at computers and 99 percent of the time, I would hear "but I don't know anyone with one of those." When I said, it's really not that difficult to use. You'll do fine on your own." I'd hear "No, that's not what I mean. You know, software's expensive."

Apple does pretty well to get the new customers they do, but they need to find some new way to advertise. Would an iLife advertisement hurt?

mkrishnan
Jun 17, 2004, 09:32 PM
I think a lot of people still make their decisions of what software they can "borrow" for use on their new machine. I used to talk to people looking at computers and 99 percent of the time, I would hear "but I don't know anyone with one of those." When I said, it's really not that difficult to use. You'll do fine on your own." I'd hear "No, that's not what I mean. You know, software's expensive."

Yeah, that's probably an underestimated aspect...I know its very common in academic circles....especially with all the $1000 analysis packages running around.

But OTOH, 50% is actually not that bad. What % of people who shop at Dell buy one in the end? I looked somewhat seriously at Dell, eMachines, Sony/VAIO, IBM/Thinkpad & HP/Compaq before I bought my iBook...so out of six companies only one got my sale. If there were a hundred of me and 50 of them bought an Apple over the other six....

My point is that, doesn't the problem lie more with how few people consider an Apple seriously, rather than the conversion rate in that group? Or, devil's advocate, is it better to focus on conversion rate cuz we may not want all of the people who don't consider apple at all? :D After all, if the conv rate was 100% instead of 50%, apple's share would still only be ~6%, right?

On the third hand :), it is surprising just how high a percentage of the non-buyers went Dell. I guess Apple might benefit from targetted hand-holding that addresses whatever concerns the folks who went Dell had.

So what are those concerns?

bousozoku
Jun 17, 2004, 09:40 PM
...

My point is that, doesn't the problem lie more with how few people consider an Apple seriously, rather than the conversion rate in that group? Or, devil's advocate, is it better to focus on conversion rate cuz we may not want all of the people who don't consider apple at all? :D After all, if the conv rate was 100% instead of 50%, apple's share would still only be ~6%, right?

On the third hand :), it is surprising just how high a percentage of the non-buyers went Dell. I guess Apple might benefit from targetted hand-holding that addresses whatever concerns the folks who went Dell had.

So what are those concerns?

I still meet people who say that Macs are toys but I can't get any explanation what that means. I suppose Dells aren't considered that because they see them at work, making them "serious" computers. :D It's scary how many Dells I've seen returned and people working there will buy them from the company because "they got a great deal."

millhouse_man
Jun 17, 2004, 10:06 PM
I think Apple has relied too heavily on word of mouth (which really is the best form of advertising) and not concentrated enough on actual print and television advertisements.

Don't get me wrong...I love Apple's ads, I think they are brilliant, but there needs to be much more of them if they want to increase their market share.

iBook
Jun 17, 2004, 10:40 PM
Don't get me wrong...I love Apple's ads, I think they are brilliant, but there needs to be much more of them if they want to increase their market share.

Don't be afraid to criticize Apple's advertising. A few exceptions aside, Apple's efforts in this area have been neither brilliant nor effective. They're too bogged down in "trying to be clever" vs. actually being clever or inventive.

It's ok, really, to love Apple the company and not love its advertising. A number of people on this board openly acknowledge the opportunities Apple has lost through ineffective advertising.

wowoah
Jun 17, 2004, 11:12 PM
I think Apple needs to do a better job of allaying the fears of switchers. So many PC-using friends I have refuse to even consider a Mac because they "don't know how to use one." The ones I have successfully switched were able to do so only after I had coaxed them into it and convinced them that it was just as easy, if not easier than Windows. I think the fact that Apple offers "switcher classes" at their stores is good, but they should do a little more than that. Some software that runs when you start your Mac up for the first time that explains the differences between Windows and the Mac OS would be a good start.

Just my 2˘.

PlaceofDis
Jun 17, 2004, 11:47 PM
why does Dell get so much business? because people see their ads all the time...sure they might get annoying, but people start to associate all computers with Dell, or Windows at least, if Apple were to finally make a Great, and thats what it needs to be, ad then i think more people would realize the potential of owning a Mac

redAPPLE
Jun 17, 2004, 11:55 PM
I still meet people who say that Macs are toys but I can't get any explanation what that means. I suppose Dells aren't considered that because they see them at work, making them "serious" computers. :D It's scary how many Dells I've seen returned and people working there will buy them from the company because "they got a great deal."

here is an idea. Apple should create a promo to companies. if a company has this many macs, they would be entitled to (significant) discounts, if the employees buys a mac.

let us say a company has 50 macs. 50 employees would be entitled to cheaper macs (better would be switch-courses would be given (for free)).

nagromme
Jun 18, 2004, 12:23 AM
"provided it can introduce a product that will be on par with [low-end offerings] from Dell or eMachines"

No. Please no!

I have one of those low-end eMachines. Nothing but trouble until it finally failed a week after my warranty. Please, Apple, don't aim to be on a par with that junk!

jbembe
Jun 18, 2004, 01:01 AM
"provided it can introduce a product that will be on par with [low-end offerings] from Dell or eMachines"

No. Please no!

I have one of those low-end eMachines. Nothing but trouble until it finally failed a week after my warranty. Please, Apple, don't aim to be on a par with that junk!


I was just thinking the same thing. I can crap in a box and sell it to you cheap, but will that really increase consumer demand for the product? :rolleyes:

sjk
Jun 18, 2004, 02:03 AM
I don't see Jobs going anywhere near a low-end consumer technology market that's beneath his personal aesthetics. He's interested in what persuades people his way.

To make a lame car analogy, it's sort of like asking a successful high-end car dealer to sell cheaper cars. He has nothing to lose by waiting until you make the choice, and can afford, to own that "nicer" car. Or don't/can't. He's not going to pander and compromise to people who aren't interested in his cars, which he considers to have higher quality and value than others.

And what if he discovers one of those cars isn't as hot as he thought it was (or wanted it to be)? That's another topic and this has already drifted off the original one so I'll quit now. Gotta get dinner anyway. :)

slipper
Jun 18, 2004, 05:34 AM
i have seen lots of studies pointing out the factual ads dont nearly perform as well as emotional or niche ads.

mkrishnan
Jun 18, 2004, 06:52 AM
I don't see Jobs going anywhere near a low-end consumer technology market that's beneath his personal aesthetics. He's interested in what persuades people his way.

Yeah, I don't think Apple should compete with Dell on a segment-by-segment, price-by-price basis. Some places they need to compete on price because, while the Apple product may be better in some ways, it is not so vastly better as to make the comparison irrelevant. Like the iPod vs. the Dell hd player. Sure, Apple users are going to get iPods, but to get PC users Apple's prices are going to have to be more-or-less consistent with Dell's....

But for those people who are seriously considering Apple's and then go Dell (that 22% statistic), I wonder what Dell they get? I'm guessing most of them don't get $800 Inspiron 1100's....

mainstreetmark
Jun 18, 2004, 07:45 AM
To make a lame car analogy, it's sort of like asking a successful high-end car dealer to sell cheaper cars. He has nothing to lose by waiting until you make the choice, and can afford, to own that "nicer" car. Or don't/can't. He's not going to pander and compromise to people who aren't interested in his cars, which he considers to have higher quality and value than others.

And what if he discovers one of those cars isn't as hot as he thought it was (or wanted it to be)? That's another topic and this has already drifted off the original one so I'll quit now. Gotta get dinner anyway. :)

You mean like how Porsche made that horrible SUV?

muire
Jun 18, 2004, 08:20 AM
Maybe what apple needs to do is go on a test-drive tour around the world to major cities, etc. (yes, they have stores for that, but I was thinking a huge event in the middle of town or something)

I was a PC nut since day one, dabbled with a Mac in high school and college but I hated OS9 with a passion. My girlfriend had a G3 350 but it ran OS9 and again, hated it with a passion. She ended up getting an iBook G4 and gave me the G3 to "play with". Immediately I added more Ram, installed Panther and gave it a whirl.

After one weekend, I was hooked and haven't looked back!

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that maybe Apple should move away from TELLING people that "they just work" and actually SHOW people "they just work". It convinced me.

First post. Thanks. ;-)

1macker1
Jun 18, 2004, 08:22 AM
"recently published survey reported that as many as 50 percent of PC buyers who considered a Mac over the last 12 months actually ended up purchasing one. "

If half of potential PC buyers choose Apple, the why is it saying that Apple has a chance of gaining market share. If 50% of the new PC buying community is chosing apple, then who can Apple not gain market share.

Ok, the ? is, how many consider Mac's. If only 100 people considered Mac's, then that's nothing to toot your horn about. Need more information.

g4cubed
Jun 18, 2004, 09:24 AM
I think a lot of people still make their decisions of what software they can "borrow" for use on their new machine. I used to talk to people looking at computers and 99 percent of the time, I would hear "but I don't know anyone with one of those." When I said, it's really not that difficult to use. You'll do fine on your own." I'd hear "No, that's not what I mean. You know, software's expensive."

Just tell them that they won't need all that extra software. It's all just to keep windows safe and running properly. :D


I still meet people who say that Macs are toys but I can't get any explanation what that means."

That's because they associate windows to work, which they probably use there. And Apple to schools, the Apples for kids program. What they don't seem to realize is, is it takes more work to maintain a windows system than a Mac. That and the ease of use were reasons for schools to purchase them. I wonder if they know about the IT guy at work. :eek:
Some people will never see this, just keep following like sheep...baaaa

diego
Jun 18, 2004, 10:37 AM
The biggest problem here in Mexico is that people think that Macs are just for designers

themadchemist
Jun 18, 2004, 12:54 PM
well, considering that Apple doesnt run commercials about its computers on any regular basis, its no wonder that people don't know the truth about them.

lets see a real commercial- instead of showing a guy getting blown outta his house, perhaps show the OS and its ease of use?!

I agree at least partially. I think, though, that Apple is getting a lot of free press lately, especially through the iPod. I think part of the reason Apple doesn't do that many commercials is that it wants to keep up an image of selling a luxury product. That's the whole reasoning behind the boutique look of the Apple Stores.

But I do think that Apple could do well with more functional, to-the-point ads like Dell has. Talk on your strengths, emphasize price, value, power, and customer service; that's what people want to hear.

I think that the real news in this story, though, is something that many of us have already been saying. When you get down to Apple's consumer line, the bang for your buck just isn't what it is for PCs. Yes, I know that Macs are more reliable, but on the point of sheer performance, you can get a much better performing PC for the price you would for an eMac. The same is probably true of the iMac.

There are a couple things Apple needs:

1) A very cheap alternative that emphasizes ease-of-use and basic needs. Essentially, something for newbies. Cut the profit margin, too.

2) An eMac-priced system that doesn't scrimp on quality & core performance too much. How do you do this? Get rid of some of the extras. I hate to say it, but maybe integrated video ram? Less firewire/usb ports? Cheaper enclosure? If you do this, you can invest the rest of the cost into bumping the clock speed a little bit. Yes, essentially your performance stays the same, but not in the eyes of the clock-speed-watching consumer. And if you're not doing much graphics work, the better processor will probably be a bigger boon than a great GPU.

3) Cut the price ever-so-slightly on the iMac.

4) Make a system between the iMac and the G5 for power-consumers. Get something with a few better specs and more expandability, but without the frills of the PowerMac. What I'm talking about is a lower clock speed than the PowerMac, not quite as good of a graphics card, maybe a little bit slower RAM, stick with 10/100 ethernet, a little bit less expandability than the PowerMac G5, etc.

Maybe I'm asking too much. But I think that if you had systems like these, we'd be better off.

And I wonder which would have a better performance: A 1 GHz G5 or a 1.25 GHz G4. After all, the G5 would have three times the system bus speed.

sjk
Jun 18, 2004, 03:15 PM
You mean like how Porsche made that horrible SUV?Yeah, like that. Good grief. :rolleyes:

I never liked pre-X Mac OS either, muire. In my brief experiences using it too many modal dialogs drove me nuts. At that time the Amiga was my home computer of choice since it didn't impose its interface on me as annoyingly as the Mac's did.

Some places they need to compete on price because, while the Apple product may be better in some ways, it is not so vastly better as to make the comparison irrelevant.Yeah, and there are certainly some comparisons that could be presented in ways that give clear advantage to Apple products. That's what's often claimed Apple hasn't done enough of and I generally agree.

Maybe I'm asking too much. But I think that if you had systems like these, we'd be better off.Who'd be better off? ;) I think that's a generalization that trivializes some important factors (e.g. support infrastructure).

One of your suggestions I partly agree with is cutting the iMac price. Since it's the only Mac that hasn't been updated this year it's overdue for something to happen, with many signs indicating that'll be at WWDC. A G5-based iMac "replacement" seems possible, yet whether the current iMac remains in the product line (with price reduction) and a new system is positioned more as a "power-consumer" one like you mention is kinda blurry. Quite a few people I know find the current iMac (17"/20" models) fills the "power-consumer" niche for them quite adequately. If more people learned how to use their systems efficiently and effectively there'd be less demand for "power". Really.

The eMac seems as low-end as Apple intends to go (for now anyway) and Jobs probably wasn't thrilled about that since I'd wager he'd have preferred the current iMac to be positioned there but it wouldn't have been profitable enough. And a friend of mine is choosing the eMac because he fears his kids' finger-poking would damage the iMac LCD, just like I've read other folks say about still preferring CRTs in "hostile" environments.

Also, I know people satisfied with older used Macs for what they do.

I'm not arguing against some restructuring of the product line for customer benefits but Apple's strategy for doing that will still make it "unavailable" for people with other needs and expectations than what's offered (obviously)... intentionally preserving some of that "luxury product" image you mention. With so much crap on the market isn't it a relief having at least one computer company that wants to do that? :)

Advertising, well... Wish my father were alive since this would be an interesting topic to discuss with him now since much of his career was as an advertising executive. One of the more interesting times I remember for him was when Datsun (Nissan) cars were first introduced in America. Seeing that on a TV program a couple years ago, with mention of the agency he worked for at the time, really blew my mind.

themadchemist
Jun 18, 2004, 06:54 PM
Who'd be better off? ;) I think that's a generalization that trivializes some important factors (e.g. support infrastructure).


Fair enough. Fuzzy use of words on my part. I apologize. Let me rephrase it in a way that will make me look silly. "Apple Computer, Inc. would be better off" and the consumer might be better off with some price reductions and with products that more correctly fit their needs.


One of your suggestions I partly agree with is cutting the iMac price. Since it's the only Mac that hasn't been updated this year it's overdue for something to happen, with many signs indicating that'll be at WWDC. A G5-based iMac "replacement" seems possible, yet whether the current iMac remains in the product line (with price reduction) and a new system is positioned more as a "power-consumer" one like you mention is kinda blurry. Quite a few people I know find the current iMac (17"/20" models) fills the "power-consumer" niche for them quite adequately.


As you say, the iMac is out of date. Perhaps an update would help. But the other problem with the iMac is a lack of expandability. That, I think drives away consumers who would like some room to configure, but who don't need a PowerMac. Think about it, the PowerMac is the only easily and significantly expandable computer that Apple sells.


If more people learned how to use their systems efficiently and effectively there'd be less demand for "power". Really.


Going back to my clarification above, the one thing for certain is that a modified line would probably add to Apple's marketshare. Remember, Apple is in the business of selling computers (albeit, quality computers), not in educating consumers as to how to use their own products. While I think Apple has some responsibility to steer prospective buyers in the right direction, it can't be held responsible for training individuals how to properly use their computers. Moreover, people almost ALWAYS buy computers that exceed their needs. Why? Because people are attracted to shiny and fast. It's just human nature.


The eMac seems as low-end as Apple intends to go (for now anyway) and Jobs probably wasn't thrilled about that since I'd wager he'd have preferred the current iMac to be positioned there but it wouldn't have been profitable enough.


Right, I'm not actually EXPECTING Apple to take my suggestions.


I'm not arguing against some restructuring of the product line for customer benefits but Apple's strategy for doing that will still make it "unavailable" for people with other needs and expectations than what's offered (obviously)... intentionally preserving some of that "luxury product" image you mention. With so much crap on the market isn't it a relief having at least one computer company that wants to do that? :)


You make an excellent point. Cutting corners doesn't seem to be the Macintosh Way (as Guy Kawasaki would put it) and would probably not bode well for the company. Perhaps I suggested cutting some corners in quality that would be a bit much (integrated memory, for example). However, I do think that Apple could better capitalize on maintaining the supposed status of owning a Mac or the perception of the Mac as a luxury item by actually putting it within the reach of more consumers. Sure, create the impression that a Mac is desirable and luxurious, but that doesn't necessarily need to be done on the price. It can be done on quality & looks. Commercials that emphasize features over price (while still mentioning that the price is very competitive) could help, I suppose.

I'm not qualified to say this, and thus I won't state it as necessarily true, but could it not perhaps be the case that cutting profit margins, especially toward the bottom end of the product line, could be beneficial? Perhaps at the low-end, where Apple struggles most, a small cut in profit margins could translate into a more significant increase in volume. Who knows?


Advertising, well... Wish my father were alive since this would be an interesting topic to discuss with him now since much of his career was as an advertising executive. One of the more interesting times I remember for him was when Datsun (Nissan) cars were first introduced in America. Seeing that on a TV program a couple years ago, with mention of the agency he worked for at the time, really blew my mind.

My dad is actually a marketing professor and has had a variety of opinions about Apple marketing. As for just-noticeable-difference in their ads, that's definitely there, as can be seen in the '1984' commercial. Apple's good at one-time ads, but the campaigns are where its advertising is weaker. I remember my dad cringing at those "Think Different" ads that didn't even mention Apple except for a tiny logo at the end. I think he probably approved more of the various iPod ads, but Apple's advertising still isn't where it should be, neither on message nor on volume.

Frohickey
Jun 18, 2004, 06:58 PM
Category: News and Press Releases
Link: Half of potential Mac customers chose Apple. (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20040617204923)
Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)

Approved by Mudbug

Hmm... if I were an Apple executive that was reading that story, instead of retiring old G3 and G4 designs when the new G5s come out, I would want to tweak and tweak again, the older G3 and G4 designs and constantly make them cheaper and cheaper.

Then, Apple could have an el-cheapo version of the Mac that runs OS X... very slowly, but it would run.

Hmm...

jackc
Jun 18, 2004, 11:45 PM
"Apple's name is quite strong, and many people think of Apple when they think of computers, but it seems likely that a significant segment of those who consider buying an Apple are unaware of what an Apple actually is. Once they find out, many of them end up buying a Dell," Kambanis told MacNewsWorld.

Is it just me, or is that a dumb quote? Should we be surprised that not everyone considering a Mac will buy one, especially when we already know that Dell is a market leader? You would think the interesting observation is that this seems like a high degree of interest in the Mac considering its low market share.

winmacguy
Jun 19, 2004, 02:37 AM
I guess the point I'm trying to make is that maybe Apple should move away from TELLING people that "they just work" and actually SHOW people "they just work". It convinced me.

First post. Thanks. ;-)[/QUOTE]

I am inclinded to agree. Most people have to be "shown" how something new works before they will have a go themselves. I see itin class at school every day. I am well used to OSX but our tutor only knows OS9 and so she teaches in OS9 also we have Quark 4 which only runs in OS9. OSX is different to use than OS9 but not necessarily harder, it also takes a bit of familiarisation.

Even an ad showing a simple MS word document being created using Office for Mac, or attaching and sending a file via email on a Mac as there are a lot of people who dont know how to do that who are not tech savy and could afford a Mac but use a PC at work for data entry and general work related stuff.

Most PC users could/would be more inclined to "switch" if they actually watched a simple demonstration of iTunes being used to play music or rip a CD or a DV cam or Digtal camera being plugged into a Mac and then down loading the images into iPhoto.
Considering how many families now own DV cameras and /or Digital cameras (movies vs stills) and like to take and make home movies or family holiday snaps. Some people just feel "challenge" and a little bit "over awed" by all the new technology that is constantly coming out so they like to stick with what they know regardless of whether they could a Mac or not..

x86isslow
Jun 19, 2004, 07:19 AM
... Even an ad showing a simple MS word document being created using Office for Mac, ...

Its funny, the Office ad campaign out now subtly reinforces the whole mac-toy connection... with the little doll version of the guy/gal??

You're right, though. I meet people who don't believe that Microsoft even makes Mac products.

edit:
here's the image i was talking about..
http://m3.doubleclick.net/viewad/790463/mrs04002_self_trial_728x90_14k.gif

eric_n_dfw
Jun 19, 2004, 09:23 AM
You mean like how Porsche made that horrible SUV?
Was that supposed to be sarcastic? As ugly as I think it is, that Porsche SUV, from what I've seen, is quite a machine. And it ain't cheap!

I think a better analogy would be the BMW X3 - they outsourced the manufacturing of it and it's getting some bad press for it's less-than-BMW quality.

Qunchuy
Jun 21, 2004, 12:21 PM
...You're right, though. I meet people who don't believe that Microsoft even makes Mac products.
Even though new versions of MSOffice have been made available for Macintosh first.

radhak
Jun 21, 2004, 01:50 PM
"Apple's name is quite strong, and many people think of Apple when they think of computers, but it seems likely that a significant segment of those who consider buying an Apple are unaware of what an Apple actually is. Once they find out, many of them end up buying a Dell," Kambanis told MacNewsWorld.

Is it just me, or is that a dumb quote? Should we be surprised that not everyone considering a Mac will buy one, especially when we already know that Dell is a market leader? You would think the interesting observation is that this seems like a high degree of interest in the Mac considering its low market share.
i was thinking the same, that is a very ambiguous statement: what does he mean by "what an Apple actually is"?

I believe Apple could sell more without lowering their product standards, if only they would have some less high-brow advts. Steve Jobs might not like ads that talk the actually functionality of a machine, but that might sell some machines to the geek/programmer section, to begin with, and what better way to shed the 'toy' image?

Also, there needs to be more of their print ads. Dell is ubiquitious: you can see its ads on PC Magazine, on the sunday supplements of most newspapers (Parade etc), and full page ads on NY Times, WSJ etc. You just cannot escape them. And believe me, those work very well. Think about a guy getting ready to buy his next computer, and has a somewhat open mind about it. He has heard of Apple and might have seen some TV ads too. But when he wants to buy, he needs some more info – will it run this, will it do that, how much it will cost, etc. For somebody totally surrounded by Wintel culture, it is not easy to get this info. Okay, maybe there was a Mac advt on two-week-ago-Friday’s newspaper, but that is of no use for him now. He might not have anybody to turn to in his circle (if he asks, he is told to go Dell ;) ) Apple might as well cut down on their TV glitzy ads and try something in black-and-white (in more ways than one).

I can think of so many ways Mac info can be disseminated – eg, show a list of software on doing the same tasks on each platform, tell them most of it comes with the Mac, and somehow pass on the idea that software piracy is getting to be out-of-fashion :D

mkrishnan
Jun 21, 2004, 06:44 PM
I believe Apple could sell more without lowering their product standards, if only they would have some less high-brow advts. Steve Jobs might not like ads that talk the actually functionality of a machine, but that might sell some machines to the geek/programmer section, to begin with, and what better way to shed the 'toy' image?

Yeah, maybe.... I think iLife is the way to go in terms of advertising. Sure programmers are an important set, and I'm a geek myself, but I'm not sure how much the digerati influence sales to the masses anymore. My parents don't ask advice anymore -- they just go and buy (and then complain to me about the poor product choices they made!).

I agree that a focus on what you can do with the product is important. There's a certain crowd that will buy an iPod because the ads communicate the kind of crowd you're in if you own one (and I'm one of them). But this doesn't apply to a lot of home PC sales -- people like my parents who don't even understand the concept of aesthetics being a valid buying parameter. :(

But I think the key is for Apple to say, look: what do you really do with your PC? Don't give me this stuff about program this, do that. You play with images, listen to music and burn CDs, surf the web, and maybe do some home finance type of stuff, maybe play games. Forgetting games and finance for a second, Apple works soooo well on the first three. They are *the* pioneer in online music sales. They have plug-n-play digital cam support that actually works. Etc....

But OTOH its hard to build up that reputation in ads. Like Dell's reputation is rarely addressed in their ads -- the Dude, You're Getting a Dell ad...I thought they were cute and successful, but I'm not sure I know what the message was. Didn't have much to do with the great configuration options and competitive prices.

So I guess there's a lot of legwork involved, and once you've got good legwork, what difference what kind of ads? Who cares what kind of ads MS makes? It has negligible impact now on their brand image. Who cares too for, say...BMW or Toyota. It gets people to think about the brand, but they know pretty well what the brand means. The ads almost become an obligatory thing on the part of the company....