Microsoft's recent string of extraordinarily bad ads:
Slate's Farhad Manjoo has already torn into the "laptop hunters" ads, which show people shopping for computers on Microsoft's dime. The big problem with the campaign—other than the revelations that redheaded Lauren, star of one of the ads, is an actress; that she bought a sucky laptop; and that the whole thing might have been scripted and staged—is the central premise, which actively propagates the notion that PCs are a cheap fallback you settle for when you can't quite afford that Mac laptop you crave. The game is given away when 1) Lauren dejectedly observes that she's "just not cool enough to be a Mac person" and 2) a guy named Giampaolo, in a follow-up spot, fondles a Mac notebook as he purrs, "This is soooo sexy."
Those are limbic-level responses. They're the kind of deeply emotional brand associations that a company spends years and hundreds of millions of dollars trying to create. Apple marketing has apparently succeeded so completely that we now see people lusting after Macs even inside Microsoft ads. It would have been wiser for Crispin to edit this stuff out.