As always- when the results are good, no one ever says “the ads did it”- but when the results are bad- it’s always the advertising that’s to blame.

When I first saw the “Get a mac” campaign- with the two guys chatting it up in front of a simple white screen- with “Hello, I’m a Mac” and “I’m a PC” I thought that Chiat/Day had hit a home run for Apple. Not only had they gone to a direct product comparison, they had captured the “user friendliness” of the Mac perfectly.

It was also an affordable campaign- with the potential for having legs. With a rumored 27 different executions already in the can- it stays fresh- and on target.

If there was any doubt that this campaign is resonating, Apple just released it’s latest quarterly results- and the news is great.

Apple Reports Fourth Quarter Results

CUPERTINO, California—October 11, 2005—Apple® today announced financial results for its fiscal 2005 fourth quarter ended September 24, 2005, reporting the highest revenue and earnings in the Company’s history. Apple posted revenue of $3.68 billion and a net quarterly profit of $430 million, or $.50 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $2.35 billion and a net profit of $106 million, or $.13 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 28.1 percent, up from 27.0 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 40 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

Not to say all honors belong to Chiat/Day- Apple completed their move to Intel processors- making their computers capable of running Windows should you absolutely have to (and unfortunately- due to some bad web coding- there are still some sites that only work for a PC running Internet Explorer). Apple also introduced the new MacBook to replace the iBook giving them one of the sexiest laptops on the market, albeit at a higher price than most entry PC laptops- but here’s the difference- you really do get what you pay for.

A Next Wave teammate who likes to hack things bought a Dell laptop for $800. It had more ram, more HD and a DVDr drive and a 15″ widescreen- feature wise, it looks like a great deal compared to a similar Mac laptop. But, here’s the catch- it’s all plastic- designed like a kids Lego version of a laptop- instead of the sleek, sexy, smooth lines of the Apple product. A photo of a Citroen 2CVWe’re comparing a Citroen 2cv to a Lotus Elise. If you need a hint- the 2CV is on the left in red- and the Elise is in blue on the right. Photo of a Lotus Elise

Apple is delivering a clearly differentiated product- competing on factors other than price, with a consistent brand voice, in a highly competitive market. Will they be number 1? No. Do they have to be? If being number one means you are delivering the most product- at the expense of profits, sustainability will be short lived.

Apple is working on expanding their brand to be central to the “digital lifestyle”- with the iPod being given more credit by stock analysts than it is due. The idea of making life easier for Apple users which is reinforced in every Get a Mac ad- is part of the strategy for Apple’s move into other areas like the delivery of digital content- with the iTunes store- and the much rumored iPhone.

Could these ads sell the new products- definitely. That’s the mark of great ads that bring brand voice, design and company strategy together for results.