Message to Moveable Type regarding your recent swings at WordPress: Tongue Must Be Firmly Inserted in Cheek Before Delivering Playful Marketing Blows to Your Competitor.
Here’s the deal… Daily Blog Tips is reporting on the “marketing” attempt by Moveable Type in which MT is trying to “poach” WordPress users who are frustrated by yet another major upgrade to jump ship and join them at Moveable Type. Saying the exchange was ever “playful” is being very, very generous …it started out ugly and has gotten uglier since. (WordPress users can follow along thanks to the dashboard feed.)
Frank Gilroy left a thought provoking comment at the Daily Blog Tips post.
I’m assuming the folks at Six Apart are big Apple fans. Don’t know about the folks at WP. I’m wondering if the whole set of Apple “Switch to Mac” adds coinciding with the launch of Vista was a motivation for this move? Interesting. Perhaps it would have worked better as a video rather than a blog post?
Perhaps indeed… print has always been very bad at conveying deeply emotional responses. It’s the reason you see the ads for the ASPCA delivered via television instead of via print. (Images of rescued and abused dogs + Sarah McLaughlin’s gut wrenching song = a television commercial that is difficult to ignore.)
If Moveable Type were to try to take their campaign to video, said videos would have to put a playful, subtle spin on the pros and cons of converting to Moveable Type from other platforms. This would be in SHARP contrast to the current blood thirsty jabs that MT Anil Dash is delivering on behalf of his company. In the Mac vs PC television ads, the subtle and playful “Mac Guy” is affably pointing out the obvious. Meanwhile, Anil takes to the blogosphere with comments and posts which basically say, “Show me where I’m wrong. What I stated was fact!”
Well.. yeah…. the Anil’s facts may be “right”… but as my sister’s therapist says…. “Would you rather be right or would you rather be happy?”
Moveable may win the battle with WordPress over who is “right…. but if they’re not careful, they could easily lose the PR war.
The Apple VS Microsoft ads could have played out in a similar manner. But they didn’t. Here’s’ why:
- The famous “Mac vs PC” ad series doesn’t single out a single PC maker. Heck, they didn’t even DIRECTLY name or target Microsoft in the beginning. We all KNEW that’s whose flaws the ads were highlighting… but notice the subtlety used by Apple’s ad team. It’s not Microsoft… it’s a PC. Dell makes PCs… Gateway makes PCs… HP makes PCs….. the fact that all those PCs are shipped with Windows installed is never mentioned.
- The famous “Mac vs PC” ad series doesn’t portray the PC man as an overbearing ogre or a drooling idiot. He’s older than the Mac Guy… less “hip”… but he’s not offensive in any way. He wasn’t created as a caricature with his hair slicked back and wearing a plaid leisure suit. He’s affable, he’s sincere… but he’s obviously trying to defend the indefensible in the ad series.
- The famous “Mac vs PC” ad series began by pointing out the obvious…
Notice… there’s no sense of “self righteousness” on the part of the “Mac guy”. He’s caring, he’s compassionate…heck, he even offers PC a tissue. He’s definitely not gloating or arrogant. He doesn’t dance over the crashed PC man doing a victory dance.
Throughout the series, you’ll notice how low key the Justin Long (Mac Guy) character remains. He’s never aggressive… never gloats…. never rejoices in PC’s misery… and he never once says, “Show me where I’m wrong!”
It’s that quiet confidence of the Mac Guy character that is the KEY to the success of the series… and it’s important to note that the quiet confidence quality can NOT be effectively delivered in print. TBWA Worldwide’s execution of the campaign is flawless. The visual undertones (young and hip vs old and up tight for example) are an essential element to the message and the only way to deliver all the essential elements is via video. The fact that the television ads have gone viral online is just a happy by product of the successful campaign. Notice though that while this campaign can take a “side trip” to print and radio, the foundation of the campaign is the ubiquitous television buy.
TBWA Worldwide successfully removed Stephen Job over inflated and enormous ego from consumer’s minds and help resuscitate the dying Mac brand. The folks at Six Apart would be well advised to put their egos away and try for the same…. and remember… this is not a war to be waged in print. Above all else, place your tongue firmly in cheek before you deliver those marketing blows.