Big Mac

Sean has written a post about the current Apple ad campaign over on OB1og. Go read it. It’s not very long. I’ll wait right here.

Have you read it all? Good.

The ads star, as Sean so aptly put it, “the slacker kid from NBC’s underrated series Ed—wait, wait…you are probably more familiar with his role in Dodgeball,” as representing a Mac, clad in jeans, a rumpled T-shirt or jacket, and an attitude. The PC is represented by a balding guy in a tweed suit and glasses. How delightfully ironically satirical in its obviousness! The Mac guy spends his time talking about all the stuff his computer can do that the PC can’t—most of which is misleading at best—and the PC guy ends up looking like he needs to find a phone and call that other purveyor of irritating television ads, Enzyte.

If you haven’t seen the ads and enjoy being annoyed, you can watch them all here.

If was the fifth or sixth time we saw one of the ads that DG said she found them irritating. I agreed wholeheartedly. Most people don’t like to watch people being humiliated. It makes them uncomfortable. I know people who refuse to watch Bush’s (rare) unscripted press conferences for this very reason. Although, the success of reality television does seem to go against this conventional wisdom somewhat, I’ll admit.

Usually, however, when we watch someone pick on someone else, it makes us uncomfortable and creates negative feelings toward the bully. This is how I feel when I watch the hapless guy in the tweed jacket get subtly mocked by Justin Long. You just know the poor guy has a hard enough time without carelessly-clad twenty-somethings making him look like an idiot. This isn’t some alpha male corporate executive jackass, this is the poor schmo in Accounts Payable who’s been passed over for promotion three times and has to deal with irate vendors all day.

Frankly, I’m not sure who these ads are supposed to be appealing to (except to the people who already use Macs, as Sean suggests), but I am sure that I don’t want to know the type of person they appeal to–smug, condescending people who believe making employees wear suits is a crime against humanity. I’m no fan of suits—as many family, friends, and people I just met can attest—but I don’t hold anything against those that do.

All that said, the ads might have worked if, instead of a harmless-looking drone, the PC guy was represented by a power-mad executive type who’s made to look like a fool. People would love that. But maybe that idea hit a bit too close to home for the Mac execs…

  1. I just realized with your description of the PC guy that they are also symbolizing Bill Gates. Maybe that was your subtle point. You know, they might as well slap a black mock turtle-neck on Justin Long and he can play Gates. We’ll all have a laugh… not.

  2. Hmmm…okay, I’m not really getting what you’re saying.

    To be honest, I wasn’t thinking that the nerdy guy was Bill Gates. When I think of a power-mad corporate executive, I see a tall, craggy-faced, white-haired white man in a black suit and a red power tie, with no glasses and a smug expression on his face. Basically the guy in that Nextel ad who’s “sticking it to himself.” If THAT guy was getting made fun of by Justin Long, it might be amusing.

  3. Okay, I was just thinking that Gates usually shows up for his keynotes and such wearing a sweater or tweed jacket, plus he wears glasses, so the similarities were close. If you’ve ever seen a Jobs keynote, he is usually wearing his black mock turtle neck and jeans.

    Yeah, I like the guy sticking to himself. Somebody like that may sway more folks to switch, but there’s still the thing with Long where middle America is not going to relate with that Slacker look.

  4. Oh, you meant Jobs, not Gates…

  5. Kate left a comment on June 5, 2006 at 3:10 pm

    Yeah, I find those ads just…not nearly as amusing as they think they are. And I’m still a Mac girl, tried and true (also a Justin Long girl, but without the ratty ‘stache, and especially if he’s getting hit in the face with a wrench). I feel as betrayed by this Mac campaign as I did by that wave of uber-masculine Volkswagen ads, meant to appeal to guys who wanted to “get in touch with their fast” (something like that) with “funny” commercials about how whiny/stupid/bitchy women (specifically, girlfriends) are. All I can say is: Volkswagen and Mac, I’ve lost a little nugget of respect for you.

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