There is no denying the fact that the tech world is an extremely competitive place and this reflects in the marketing strategies of various companies. We have seen various tech companies take the advertising route to embarrass their competition. Unlike “routine” ads that talk and highlight the product and its USPs and are pretty much aimed to increase sales, competitive ads are created not only to highlight company’s own product but to put the problems of a competitive product in the spotlight. That may sound like a win-win scenario, but competitive advertising can be a double-edged sword as well, as it ends up giving your rival time and space. But this risk has not stopped companies from getting competitive in the ad zone. And the latest in this genre is the new Chromebook ad from search giant Google, which takes a thorough dig at both Windows and Mac devices, its competitors. But does the ad cut the competition or leave Google bleeding?
Doing maximum with minimum
“If you want a laptop you can count on. You Chromebook”, is a minute long ad that starts with the Google Chromebook logo. After this text on the screen appears saying, “if you don’t have time for this” accompanied by the image of Microsoft’s hourglass icon (the one which pops up when the computer is processing some task). This is followed by text saying, “if you never want to see” along with Mac’s signature beach ball icon moving (which also pops up when a Mac is processing information). Then comes “if you’re over”, followed by a series of error messages and notifications from both Windows and Mac OS interfaces. This done, text saying, “And want all of this” appears, followed by visuals of Google’s latest Chromebook, with different apps running on it, the stylus that comes with it, its touch screen followed by the logos of several apps that one can use on the device. The screen next displays text that reads “if you want” with the text below it changing rapidly and showing “virus protection, automatic updates, all-day battery, less charging, more battery life, quicker starts, faster loading, less lag, a new kind of laptop,” and this is followed by visuals of the new Chromebook, running the game everyone is playing these days – PUBG.
And the answer of all these needs then appears on the screen, with the words “you Chromebook”, adding that “the new Chromebooks are here.” The ad ends with the Google Chromebook logo. Playing in the background is a classical music score.
Clever, witty, competitive
When it comes to competitive advertisements, there are a very few campaigns that are able to hit the nail right on the head. This Chromebook ad from Google has done just that. The title of the ad, “If you want a laptop you can count on. You chromebook (extended)” may be very lengthy but the ad is not. Even for the extended version, the ad only last for one minute and boy, did we cherish that one minute.
We love how the ad has taken a really clever and witty path. Without directly pointing guns at any particular company or naming names, the ad has taken shots at two of its biggest rivals in the business. By using icons that user identify with errors and irritation on Mac and OS, like the Microsoft hourglass icon, or Mac OS beach ball icon, the different errors and warnings that all the Microsoft and Mac users hate, the ad strikes a chord with everyone who has encountered a frustrating time with a Windows or a Mac OS machine. And all this is done without naming anyone or using dialogue or a celebrity – it is just routine stuff, topped with wit.
Many competitive ads, for instance, the ones from Samsung targeting the iPhone, end up giving more screen time to their competition’s shortcomings instead of highlighting the USPs of the brand’s own products. The Chromebook ad avoids this potential pitfall. Even while taking potshots at its competitors, the ad points out that a Chromebook not only comes without the shortcomings of its rivals but can also add more value to your computing experience. Unlike many competitive ads, this one not only took down the competition by highlighting its problems but also gave a fair amount of time to its own product, making sure that the Chromebook stays in the spotlight.
The background music supports the visuals perfectly and adds a little bit of drama to the ad. And even though there are no people or super fancy graphic involved in the ad, the production values are so spot on – the manner in which many keywords of the copy were highlighted in Google’s logo colors was a neat touch.
Hitting the sweet spot
Competitive advertising can be a risky business as we have seen all too often. But with its new Chromebook ad, we think Google has managed to hit the sweet spot almost perfectly – there has been no name calling, no bad mouthing, just slices of frustrations of users of other platform – frustrations which Google claims its own Chromebook will address easily. Yes, some will point out that the ad showcases only a high-end Chromebook (not all Chromebooks have touchscreens and stylus support), but even then there is no denying that the spot is clever, makes fun of its competition in a very subtle way, has targeted not just one but two rival companies (and HUGE ones at that) and has still managed to highlight its own product very well. We think some of the tech companies could learn a lesson or two from Google on how to create a good competitive ad.
So “You want a laptop you can count on. You Chromebook”? Well, maybe, but if you want a good competitive ad, you Google!