Gateway: Think Smarter, Not Different

Struggling PC maker Gateway is rolling out an ad campaign today that aims squarely at Apple Computer and its flat-panel iMac system. The ads highlight the fact that Gateway created its all-in-one, flat-panel-based Profile PC series long before Apple created its new iMac and that the new Profile 4 model, which Gateway recently released, outperforms the iMac for considerably less money. Gateway's new ads use the tagline "Think Smarter," a take on Apple's old "Think Different" ad campaign.

In addition to taking on a rival head to head, Gateway's ads are notable for other reasons. After months of using folksy ads that feature Gateway founder Ted Waite and a talking cow mascot, the company is now focusing on its recently restyled machines, which sport brushed-metal fascias and modern designs. The ad campaign focuses both on consumers--with whimsical nods to past Apple ads--and businesses--with information about the machine's superior performance and compatibility with business-oriented software. Apple targets primarily consumers, students, and creative markets.

One Gateway ad is particularly amusing; it features the Profile 4 performing a back flip after its $999 starting price is compared to the $1299 starting price of the low-end iMac sitting next to it. The Profile 4 machine then turns to the iMac and issues a stinging raspberry--a message Apple fans are sure to take issue with. But it's nice to see Gateway take a controversial yet defensible stand in this era of failing fortunes. With a projected loss of $200 million to $250 million this year on revenues of $5 billion, the company needs a bit of a sales spark to turn things around.

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