By Brendan I. Koerner
The Pitch They still make laptop commercials? Apparently so, and stylish ones at that. "Everything you want in a notebook," the narrator intones, as a slinky, possibly Icelandic model experiences all the Acer Aspire 5920G has to offer: a "holographic 3D finish," "opalesque contours," and "Enlightener media flow." (No, I have no idea what any of that means, either.) Donning a curve-hugging, sleeveless white pantsuit, our captivating model slides around oversized laptops and enjoys some Dolby surround sound before the familiar Intel jingle caps the pitch. Is Acer's new Aspire Gemstone lineup about to supplant Sony's Vaios as the preferred notebooks of design-conscious PC users? Or is Acer getting too fancy with its aesthetics-first schtick?
Rip Off Of A jillion ads for German cars, which is no accident. The 5920G was co-designed by none other than BMW; after the success of the Acer's Ferrari laptops, you knew this was coming, didn't you? So the aesthetic here is pure automotive porn: Instead of twisting around an Alpine road at impossible speeds, the Acer model romps about a Matrix-like netherworld replete with sapphires, opals and $1,919 laptops. There's no sense of irony or humor here—it's all about wowing you with the Teutonic care that's gone into the product's creation.
The Spin The marketing approach is very non-Apple, but Acer seems to be positioning its Aspire Gemstones as the premier PC rivals to the Macbooks. That was once the Sony Vaios' gig, but those laptops seem to have lost some of their luster—the brand was diluted, perhaps, by overproduction on the low-end (such as the VGN-FE670s). This commercial tries to seize the Vaio's mantle, then, by accenting frills similar to those that won Sony so many laptop customers: eye-catching design and attention to multimedia features. As previously noted, for example, the Gemstones claim to be the first notebooks with Dolby-certified surround sound. And there's a nifty built-in webcam, as well as dedicated volume buttons—Apple-like tricks that the Vaio series adopted long ago.