“Grandma, don’t run out and buy an iPad”

Posted on December 4, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Apple, Microsoft Surface, iOS with 43 Comments

Microsoft’s latest Surface ad takes a direct shot at the Apple iPad. The holiday commercial, is a remix of “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”, promoting the Surface Go.

“Grandma, don’t run out and buy an iPad. It was fine when I was six, but now I’m 10. My dreams are a big so I need a real computer.” The ad is funny-ish, and it just gets the point across really well. It particularly boasts the Surface Go’s $399 price tag, when in reality you will just be struggling with a low-powered computer if you get the entry-level Surface Go.

What’s quite interesting to see is Microsoft comparing the Surface Go here instead of the Surface Pro with Apple’s iPads. The company is obviously taking shots at Apple’s “what’s a computer?” campaign for the iPad Pro, after all.

Do keep in mind that this is not Microsoft’s main holiday ad, and the company has a different campaign focusing on inclusivity for the holidays (via The Verge):

Tagged with ,

Join the discussion!


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Comments (43)

43 responses to ““Grandma, don’t run out and buy an iPad””

  1. jaredthegeek

    To be fair i would much rather have my Grandma get an iPad over a surface. Its easier to use, simple interface and would keep her out of trouble. Same reason I wanted my inlaws on iOS devices. They barely need a computer. They went android and its been an adventure.

  2. provision l-3

    Microsoft is a really big fan of this comparative advertising despite it being known to not really work.

    The basic premise is that whatever widget you are comparing yourself to is perceived as the best product in class and you are making a pitch as to why you widget is better. The problem being that you are promoting the other widget by default. At the end of the day it is as much advertising for the iPad as it is for the Surface Go.

    • MikeGalos

      In reply to provision l-3:

      Ah, you mean how years of "I'm a Mac. And I'm a PC" ads hurt Apple and helped Microsoft?

      • provision l-3

        In reply to MikeGalos:

        Yes, they reinforced that Windows as the product to beat and to best of my knowledge they didn't move the needle on Mac sales at all. In fact the unintended consequence was that John Hodgeman's PC was identified as the more like able character. Crappy ads.

        • MikeGalos

          In reply to provision l-3:

          The old rule of "never mention a competitor" comes from IBM 360 days when IBM was pretty much the monopoly and the only name people thought of when they heard "computer". IBM mentioning Sperry would hurt IBM. But Sperry mentioning IBM cost them nothing since people were already thinking of IBM when they thought computer.

          It was the same with Apple when Microsoft Windows WAS the only name people thought about for personal computers.

          It is the same with Surface when iPad is the only name people think about for tablets.

          • provision l-3

            In reply to MikeGalos:

            It's crappy advertising. I know it pains you to find out Golden Calf made a bad choice with this one.

            • MikeGalos

              In reply to provision l-3:

              I guess when you saw this ad you hadn't even known Apple made a tablet and the ad is what made you think about checking out Apple. Of course, if that's not the case then your old saw is not applicable.

              • provision l-3

                In reply to MikeGalos:

                You either didn't read my original comment prior to posting to it or you didn't understand it. Given that you initial knee-jerk response was to take it as a pro Apple comment rather than a critique of they style of advertising in general I'm going to assume you didn't really read it and just went straight to reliving the platform wars of the 90s that you seem still want to fight.

                Anyway, your responses at this point aren't even relevant to what I initially said which makes taking the time to respond you a bit of waste. Perhaps you can find and Apple fan to go pick a fight with, that is what you seem to really want anyway.

                • MikeGalos

                  In reply to provision l-3:

                  No. None of my comments were specific to any company. The rule of not mentioning a competitor because it gives them free name recognition and declares them the default does NOT apply if the competitor IS an actual default with dominant name recognition. That applies in ANY market that has a single lead competitor that's seen as the default.

                • provision l-3

                  In reply to MikeGalos:

                  Right, your initial response just happened to be about Apple rather than advertising. Okay, maybe it had nothing to do with your obsessions with bygone platform wars and you really were making a completely irrelevant comment.

                  Anyway, this: "The rule of not mentioning a competitor because it gives them free name recognition"

                  Name recognition wasn't what I was talking about and you appear to have missed the point I was making entirely.

                  I can make this simple though. We disagree about Microsoft's ad. You think it is just ducky and I disagree. Disagreement isn't a big deal. The fact that you can't seem to abide by me having a contrary opinion to you about Microsoft makes you look like a bigger fanboy for the company that you normally do. I humbly suggest you not invest your ego in a company, your life will be better for it.

    • Passinttd

      Microsoft is a really big fan of this comparative advertising despite it being known to not really work.

      The basic premise is that whatever widget you are comparing yourself to is perceived as the best product in class and you are making a pitch as to why you widget is better. The problem being that you are promoting the other widget by default. At the end of the day it is as much advertising for the iPad as it is for the Surface Go.

  3. skborders

    Cute commercial. I like the inclusivity one better though.

  4. MikeGalos

    On the other hand, Reindeer Games is an amazing ad.

  5. lordbaal1

    The Surface Go is good for a secondary computer. The go is not as bad as this GRUMPY old man is saying it is.

  6. roastedwookie

    The most pathetic ad ever :))) like it would ever make a dent. MS is very high on koolaid

  7. dontbe evil

    it's funny how this website censor a simple comment of mine like "love it"

  8. skane2600

    It's a good ad except for the fact that the entry-level Surface Go in it's initial configuration is really no more a computer than the iPad and a bit less than an iPad Pro. If you buy the type cover it's similar to an iPad Pro, then if the user discovers the ability to upgrade to full Windows then it becomes a "real computer" relative to an iPad or iPad Pro.

    Of course the iPad is a real computer but in this context, a "real computer" means being able to run all the programs one can run on a PC with Windows.

    Apple could make a similar commercial were the grandma is asked to buy a Mac (i.e. a real computer) instead of an iPad with equal validity. Obviously it wouldn't make any business sense for Apple to make such a commercial.

  9. BlackForestHam

    It's a fun, fantastic piece of marketing with a glimmer of truth behind it. (And I'm writing this on my iPad Pro, which I love). But this won't move the needle at all. Surface Go is a stillborn. If the kid wants a real computer, get her a Surface 6 or MacBook, granny.

  10. BeckoningEagle

    Every time Microsoft does an add like the first one, it comes back to bite them in the butt.

    The second add is awesome, a tear jerker for sure.

  11. rfog

    And after purchaing one Go, they discover that performance sucks, more if they compare it with a friend iPad, returns it and buy an iPad (and another "satiasfied" customer talking pests of microsoft devices).

    They shot in their own feet.

  12. Vladimir Carli

    I am not sure if the bulk of the users will encounter the speed problems, at least in the beginning. If you run two browser tabs and read e-mail the surface go should be able to handle it. The real problem is that both companies are misleading customers. The iPad offers a much better tablet experience but it sucks if you think about using it as a PC. The Surface Go it's much better as a PC because it offers the same experience with mouse and keyboard but it really sucks as a tablet, as the ecosystem is completely missing. The bottom line is that these two devices are for different people and use cases, and somewhat complementary. It would be much better if Microsoft and Apple focused on finding the right customers for them. Instead they try to eat into each others plate, in complete disregard for the consumers.


  13. Jeffery Commaroto

    Yeah kids don’t want all of those apps and games that will never be available in the Windows store.

  14. Tony Barrett

    Microsoft obviously trying to make Windows appealing to the younger generation, who are leaving it behind in favour of iOS and Android. Trouble is, it won't work. Windows is dead to anyone under 18 these days, and this won't make any difference. An entry level Go would just be painful to use for anything serious, and the lack of store apps would be a deal breaker.

    • solomonrex

      In reply to ghostrider:

      It's certainly less popular, but there are still plenty of 'kids' that are playing minecraft, fortnite and other games on a PC. Windows is hardly dead to kids, even if they aren't as obsessed because they has so many other options. All those Steam games aren't buying themselves.

      • Greg Green

        In reply to solomonrex:

        The average gamer is near middle age, so it’s not kids buying the bulk of steam games.

        And most gaming revenue comes from mobile, so MS is largely left out of that too.

      • Stooks

        In reply to solomonrex:

        This! I have 3 kids, two seniors and one freshman. It is all about the PC gaming for them. All of them have high school provided Windows 10 laptops as well. 6 Windows computers between the 3 of them.

      • curtisspendlove

        In reply to solomonrex:

        Interesting. Most of the “kids” around here prefer consoles to PCs when they have the option. Even though the family PCs are generally much more powerful.

        But they also tend to play a game on the console, while watching YouTube videos of the game they are playing, and group voice-chatting about whatever games they are playing and videos they are watching.

        I think I finally got my son interested in the gaming rig we’ll be building soon. But I showed him a picture of the GPU on Newegg and asked him if he knew what it was.

        He responded “a fan!?” My wife snorted. I sighed and cried a bit inside. (Yup, it is an $800 fan...which actually isn’t far from the truth.)

        I explained to him that this PC will destroy the Xbox in graphics, his only question was if he’d be able to play multiplayer with his friends if they are on consoles.

    • skane2600

      In reply to ghostrider:

      My teenage kids use their laptops daily along with their smartphones. They don't play PC games, don't spend most of the time doing homework on them, and they have no interest in how computers work.

  15. drjohnnyray

    But every time an Ipad is sold, an angel gets its wings......

  16. Pedro Vieira

    Microsoft's presence in the consumer market was doomed the moment they missed the mobile train. There's no going back from that. No kids, especially her age, will want a Windows device.

    These ads will be pretty nostalgic 20 years from now.

    • Stooks

      In reply to PeteMiles:

      and yet the gaming PC market, dominated by Windows is largely a kid/young adult crowd.

      I will say this my kids were OH so happy to get rid of their Chromebooks when they left middle school to get Windows 10 laptops in high school.

      • MikeGalos

        In reply to Stooks:

        Terminals like Chromebook are great for admins at a cost to the users.

        Actual personal computers are great for users at a cost to the admins.

        It's about who you consider your priority, those using the computing systems or those maintaining the systems.

      • Greg Green

        In reply to Stooks:

        From Entertainment Software Association:

        The average gamer is 34 years old...

        The average "frequent game purchaser" is 38 years old.

        But half of gaming revenue comes from mobile, and MS is not there.

        • skane2600

          In reply to Greg Green:

          Are we talking about the combined revenue of all games, or their median revenue? I imagine there may be thousands of mobile games that have made less than $100 in revenue, but they would still count in the total.

    • boots

      In reply to PeteMiles:

      "These ads will be pretty nostalgic 20 years from now."

      Nobody will care about, or even remember these ads 20 years from now.

  17. MikeGalos

    In reality you will just be struggling with a low-powered tablet that isn't a full computer if you get the iPad.

    Fixed it for you.

    (And now we'll get the comments comparing a $1,000 "new" iPad Pro's capabilities with the Surface Go rather than the $329 entry-level iPad it competes with)

    Oh, and FYI, there's a typo in the lyric quote, it should be "My dreams are big so I need a real computer". You have an extra "a" before big.

  18. harmjr

    You know Apple is going to respond. Get some popcorn let the games begin.

  19. kroembke

    Why aren't I seeing the "Grandma" ads more than the handicapped child ads? If Microsoft has market tested these, then so be it, but I would be far more likely to buy a Surface from the Grandma ads than the handicapped ads. I love it when handicapped children find a place in this world where they can truly contribute, but most of us aren't handicapped and need to use personal computing to help us in our everyday lives.