Measuring Apple’s Viral Video Response to Microsoft’s “I’m a PC” Campaign

Visible Measures / October 28, 2008

The Microsoft/Apple advertising war rages on. It’s hard to say who fired the first shot, but what we do know is that Microsoft has directly responded to Apple’s wildly successful “Get a Mac” ads with the $300 million “I’m a PC” campaign (well, after a brief but intriguing attempt to team Microsoft founder Bill Gates with comic legend Jerry Seinfeld). The “I’m a PC” campaign hit in mid-September and it took Apple exactly a month to respond with three pointedly anti-Vista “Get a Mac” ads (included below).

“Bean Counter”

“V Word”

“Bake Sale”

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 campaign. 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.


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.


While it’s always tough to predict viral video performance, these numbers show that the legions of Apple fans have planted the seeds for future viral video growth.

Finally, with all of that said, we can’t help but point out that, in terms of viral video reach, Microsoft’s intial Seinfeld/Gates ads significantly out-performed both of the campaigns investigated here. If Microsoft had stuck with their original creative direction, how do you think Apple might have responded? We’re picturing a video series that teams Steve Jobs with Newman and follows their playful banter during an autumn apple picking excursion… then again, maybe not. What do you think?

The data used in this post was collected from Visible Measure’s Viral Reach Database, a constantly growing video repository of analytic data on 100+ million Internet videos from 150+ video-sharing destinations.


Tags: Apple, Microsoft, video measurement, video metrics, Viral Marketing, viral video,