First, Lauren. Now, Giampaolo.

First, there was Lauren, and now we have Giampaolo. The ad follows the same “You Find It, You Keep It” formula: someone gets a set budget to buy a new computer and they get to keep any money left over after the purchase. And of course, he picks the PC:

The first ad featuring Lauren got that minority of people who buy Macs for boosting their self-esteem rather than getting stuff done a little riled up and coming up with laundry lists detailing what’s wrong with the ads, and I suspect that there’ll be more of the same with this one.

I’m impressed that The Empire’s ad agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, came up with another ad that’s neither funny-as-in-strange but nonsensical nor forgettable. It’s also good to a portrayal of a Windows user as attractive, funny and not John “I’m a PC” Hodgman.


At Last, a Truly Impressive “I’m a PC” Ad

First, there were the bewildering Gates/Seinfeld TV spots, “Shoes and Churros” and the extended-length “Living with an Ordinary Family”. Then came the “I’m a PC” spots, which were half-decent, but still not a good enough foil to Apple’s very effective ads. But in classic Microsoft style, the Empire’s ad agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, seems to have gotten it right with version 3.0. Take a look:

<a href=";playlist=videoByUuids:uuids:0bb6a07c-c829-4562-8375-49e6693810c7&amp;showPlaylist=true&amp;from=msnvideo" target="_new" title="Laptop Hunters $1000 – Lauren Gets an HP Pavilion">Video: Laptop Hunters $1000 – Lauren Gets an HP Pavilion</a>

It works. Instead of featuring famous comedians and techies-turned-philanthropists or framing the ad in terms of Apple’s ads, this one gets it right by featuring a story and a character that the audience can relate to.

In the ad, “Lauren”, a cute young woman, is driving around town, trying to get a 17” laptop that’s fast, has a comfortable keyboard and sells for under $1000. She first goes to the Mac store but finds the only $1000 model is the 13” MacBook. She’d have to double her budget to get a 17” model. There’s a great moment when she sarcastically remarks as she drives that “I’m just not cool enough to be a Mac person”.

(Cue howls of derision from Mac fanboy/pegboy Jon Gruber on Daring Fireball in 3…2…1…)

In the end, she goes to Best Buy and marvels at the selection of laptops that meet her criteria. She finds one and squeaks with delight. The camera zooms in on the cash register’s display, which shows the before-tax price of her laptop: $699.99. When asked how she’s going to pay for it, she looks at the camera and says this with great satisfaction: “Cash”. This is the sort of message that will really hit home for a lot of people, given the state of the economy.

Kudos to Crispin Porter + Bogusky for being clever in making these ads. They put ads on Craigslist and similar sites, offering people between USD$700 and USD$2000 to go buy a new computer. They were told that they could keep any money that was left over, which provided them an incentive to look for the best deals they could get. It’s good countermarketing: if Apple is using actors, go with real people.

(And Apple used real people in the “Switch” ad series – remember the series of ads which included “stoner chick” Ellen Feiss? Maybe Lauren is Microsoft’s Janie Porche.)

I’m interested to see what the other ads in this series – assuming it’s a series – look like.


Copy and Paste

In the very unlikely event that you forgot what the keyboard shortcuts were…

Two wonen: one wearing a \"Copy (control + C)\" T-shirt, the other wearing a \"Paste (control + V)\" T-shirt.


Build Status Interfaces

Having a continuous integration system is nice, but what’s even nicer is if that system has a really clear way of telling you whether the build is working. weren’t happy with build status messages on the command line and went the extra mile to set up these illuminated bears:\'s red, yellow and green \"build bears\"’s Adrian Woodhead writes:

These 3 bears sit in a prominent position and watch our developer’s every move. When things are good we have a green bear gently glowing and purring, when changes are being processed a yellow bear joins the party, and if the build gets broken the growling evil red bear makes an appearance. The developer who broke things usually goes a similar shade of red while frantically trying to fix whatever was broken while the others chortle in the background.

I’ve been meaning to get back into a little hardware hacking (something I haven’t done since I was a teen) and learn how to build computer-driven gizmos like’s bears. In the meantime, I’ll have to satisfy myself by page-slapping the development team at b5 with these images created by Big Swinging Developer

You Broke the Build!

\"You broke the build!\" graphic

“Builds on My Machine…”

\"Builds on my machine\" graphic

Where’s the Build?

\"Where\'s the build?\" graphic