Computer ads flavored with bitter Apple

CobraBoy! (
Sat, 20 Sep 1997 09:53:30 -0700

Power Computing's loss of license to clone Macs
inspires a last shot at Apple Computer

Related coverage: Power Trips

By Jerry Mahoney
American-Statesman Staff

ROUND ROCK -- As if adding a final exclamation point to its own chapter in
the story of
Apple Computer Inc., Power Computing Corp. has taken one last shot at its
biggest rival.

A three-page ad running in the Sept. 15 issue of MacWeek magazine suggests
that Apple is the
system or "The Man," as they said in the '60s, that wants to wreck your
fun and maybe
control your life.

The message that such an impersonal force is out there to thwart you is
consistent with Power
Computing's latest theme for its Mac-type computers, which is "Beat the

The new ad, a version of which also appears inside the cover of Macworld
for November,
equates Apple with that force.

The first page of the new ad shows a somber-looking young man surrendering
his driver's
license to a black-gloved hand, which is clearly meant to portray a police
officer. Large
black-and-red letters across the top obviously suggest an expletive, while
the bottom of the
page carries the request, "Your license, please."

The headline running across two pages inside MacWeek reads, "We lost our
license for
speeding." Sandwiched between ads for the company's top-of-the-line
PowerTower Pro
computers, is part of Apple's Sept. 2 press release announcing it would
acquire the key assets
of Power Computing for $100 million.

Those assets include the license to sell Mac clones, which Power Computing
will surrender
Dec. 31. Several Mac industry analysts have said Power Computing's newest
which it won't be allowed to ship, outperforms Apple's newest Power

The agreement brought to a head more than a month of controversy over
whether Power
Computing would be allowed to keep making Mac clones. Recently, Motorola
Group said it will stop selling its StarMax clones at the end of the year.
Apple, which has been
losing money and market share, blames the clone makers for many of its

Apple had no comment Friday on the Power Computing ad.

"That's about the best last ad that Power could have done. It's like they
went out with pride,"
said Mike Bevil, founder of BAM advertising, an Austin agency that is
working on a final ad
for Motorola's StarMax computers.

The ad is the work of Mike Rosenfelt, Power Computing's former marketing
director who
became one of the most frequently quoted officials during the monthlong
media dust-up over
Apple's retreat from licensing.

Rosenfelt, one of Power Computing's original employees, resigned late
Wednesday. He
declined to comment on his resignation or whether the company asked for
it. His brashness
contrasted with the reserved demeanor of Steve Kahng, the company's
founder, and many of
its executives.

Rosenfelt, 30, known in the industry for his rapid, almost
stream-of-consciousness answers
to questions, was one of the architects of Power Computing's carefully
crafted and effective
image as the heir to Apple's anti-establishment legacy.

That image was created in ads and fostered in gimmicks, such as having
Power Computing
employees dress in fatigues at Macintosh-industry shows and march to
battle cries such as
"Fight Back for the Mac."

"I think Mike did a super job of always pointing out Power Computing's
superior price
performance with very clever ads that always got your attention," said
Jeff Keller, the San
Diego creator of, the unofficial Web site devoted to Power

Meanwhile, orders for Power Computing's newest computer, the PowerTrip
laptop, are
meeting or exceeding expectations, said spokeswoman Lisa Rohlf. The
notebook is the
company's attempt to find a home in the more crowded but more lucrative
market for
computers that run on Pentium chips and Windows software.

The first PowerTrips will be shipped next week, Rohlf said. Power has
about 350 employees,
down from its high of about 500, not including contract employees, she said.


Care about people's approval and you will be their prisoner.
-Toa Te Ching

<> <>