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In new TV hard sell, Microsoft strikes at Apple's art

The latest Laptop Hunter TV spot from Microsoft sees the company addressing the very core of Apple's being--artists.

The latest Laptop Hunter TV spot from Microsoft is the very definition of a hard sell.

No, not because it barks at you to buy a PC or you'll miss out on the deal of the century (even though you will, you will), but because it goes after the fearless foot soldiers of the Apple army--artists.

Sheila is a filmmaker. She wants something with a fast processor and a big screen. She also wants something that will be able to cut video. And all this for less than $2,000.

I look at Sheila's face and I want to make a film with her. She has the eyes of one of those film editors whose only familiarity with daylight is when they stumble out of an editing suite to have a cigarette and suddenly realize dawn is breaking and it's Tuesday, not Sunday.

However, this is a commercial and she's a little too dressy. If she'd been wearing jeans with a thousand coffee stains, a Black Sabbath T-shirt covered in croissant crumbs, and fingernails bitten to the wrist, she would have delivered the authentic film-editing look.

Instead, Sheila looks like a mom who's just popped over to Starbucks for a chai, a maple scone, and a colorful mug for her kids before popping across the mall for a pedi and a neck massage.

As is customary in this campaign, the script-free script calls for the protagonist to dismiss a Mac. Sheila looks at us and tells us the only Mac in her budget has a mere 2GB. Not enough for all the footage she intends to shoot for her L.A. version of "Gone With the Wind"--provisionally entitled "Gone to Bikram Yoga."

She shrugs to dismiss the MacBook Pro, as if to say: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a RAM."

She swiftly chooses a Hewlett-Packard HDX 16t.

Yet, one can't help feel as if Sheila's essential niceness suggests Microsoft has become a little tired of the more robust style epitomized by the first two hunters, Lauren and Giampaolo.

Perhaps, despite the current worldwide charge toward saving money, people still want wit and charm to balance the dry drag of their daily lives.

Even artists are trying to make happy films these days.