Laptop Lauren is an Actress

Yesterday I blogged about Microsoft’s new Laptop Hunter ad campaign. It features (supposedly) real people who are given $1,500 and told to buy a laptop that matches their own specs. In the ad, they discover that their limited budget will really only get them a PC…coincidentally loaded with Microsoft Windows Vista.

It’s cool. I get it. The commercials do a good job showcasing the (initial) affordability of a low-budget PC laptop. Certain blogs, including The Apple Blog, contend that the Apple laptop is actually a better value. Whatever. I still thought it was a good ad, since it engaged me and made me think.

The Important Update
In an everyone-is-a-detective-thanks-to-Google update, someone has managed to track down Lauren, the young woman who appears in the ads. And to everyone (and no one’s) surprise…Lauren is an actress.

She even has her own website at http://laurendelong.com/. Good for her.

Now that doesn’t mean that the campaign isn’t effective and compelling. It still is. But…

But…it was SUPPOSED to be real people. And while certain companies can get away with a little bit of winky truth bending, it doesn’t usually include Microsoft.

Microsoft faced controversy a few years back when they released “Ms. Dewey” a search librarian. This campaign featured an attractive actress who would be the sexy face of search. But Microsoft got more than they bargained for when it was discovered that the actress Janina Gavankar was actually in an adult film. So, yeah, that ad campaign generated some negative publicity for Microsoft.

If you’re a marketer reading this, take note. If you plan an advertising campaign that’s based on the testimony of real people, make sure they’re really real people and not “real people who are also professional actors.”

There is a difference.

Interesting Links…Not Necessarily an Endorsement

Microsoft Viral Videos on YouTube

As a Mac user, I quite like the “I’m a Mac…” commercials. They effectively shed doubt upon the Microsoft Windows operating system, which makes it hard to want to buy a PC.

But Microsoft didn’t get to be 90% of the PC market by being non competitive. So it’s no surprise to see them coming on strong with a viral video campaign. Microsoft has always had videos and commercials, but it’s really kind of cool to see them tapping the power of YouTube.

I really like this one featuring “Lauren” who goes to the store to pick out an HP Pavilion with Windows Vista. It’s a slick, well-produced video campaign that positions Microsoft as a value in a tough economy. (As well as HP and Best Buy, also featured in the video. Nice product placements there.)

As of today, Microsoft’s “Lauren” viral video has over 303,000 views. That’s pretty impressive for an ad that Microsoft isn’t paying anyone to view. Zero advertising spend.

Right now, the Microsoft WindowsVideo channel on YouTube, they have 71 videos. The stats show hundreds of thousands of views for some of these clips.

Not too shabby. Even this Mac guy is impressed.