Apple’s Commercials: Some Sweet, Some Worm-Filled
May 11, 2011 Leave a comment
When I think about advertising campaigns that I hated, Apple’s “Get a Mac” is one of the first that comes to mind. “Get a Mac” ran from 2006 to 2010, and the spots compared Macs to PCs. In case you’ve forgotten, here’s is a video with all of the ads on Apple’s website.
I couldn’t stand these. The consumer is supposed to take away advantages that Macs have over PCs, but my reaction was that Justin Long is kinda an ass and should be nicer to that dorky middle-aged man. Justin Long is a big part of the problem for me. He just has that David Spade-esque quality that makes me want to smack him. He seems like the type who would hit on your girlfriend at a bar, or be a difficult customer that doesn’t tip at a restaurant (someone his character in Waiting would have hated). Otherwise, the campaign crystallized every negative stereotype I have about “Mac people”; that they are smug, elitist, and pretentious. People who go out of their way to be different, while being so self-unaware of how they are pigeonholing themselves. These views aren’t just mine, a recent study backs them up.
“Get a Mac” did have many fans though, as evidenced by it being named “Campaign of the Decade” by AdWeek. Maybe it did help the brand, but I just didn’t like it. However, there is a reason that Apple is such a hugely successful company, and they have had some great ads. In the mid-2000s, being featured in an Apple commercial was often a gateway to success for indie-oriented artists. Feist’s “1234″ was featured in an iPod Nano commercial, and climbed all the way to #8 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Yael Naim’s “New Soul” was used in a MacBook Air ad, and peaked at #7 on the Hot 100. It also happened that these songs became popular by people seeing the commercials and downloading the songs, mostly off iTunes. So Apple would pay for use of the music, and they ended up making money off the iTunes downloads. And they helped these artists in the process. Genius.
Another groundbreaking Apple commercial has a story behind it. In 2007, 18 year old British student Nick Haley created a commercial for the iPod Touch using the very catchy “Music Is My Hot Hot Sex” by CSS. He posted his video on YouTube, which was discovered by Apple. Apple then hired Nick to make a broadcast version of his video . Here’s the final cut.
It’s pretty inspiring to think that a person like you or I could create a national commercial. So there it is. I hated “Get a Mac”, but I’ll give Apple credit where it’s due.