Thursday, June 05, 2008

Mac vs. PC Ads Don’t Benefit Apple

I’m a marketing and advertising designer by profession. Now, I certainly don’t travel in the rarefied circles of Apple’s longtime advertising agency TBWA Chiat/Day. My clients have always been small businesses and regional corporations. But I still think I have a right to offer constructive criticism about the Mac vs. PC commercials. I’ve spent more than half of my career working on Macs and have a deep affinity for the Apple brand. Heck, I’m a stockholder.

The problem is that ever since Vista was launched almost two years ago, Apple’s Mac vs. PC spots have mainly been about how bad Vista is. With only a couple of exceptions, Apple technology and software have been ignored, and the advantages of using a Mac have only been implied by the PC guy’s pratfalls, goofy schemes, afflictions and general trials and tribulations with Vista.

Wake up Chiat/Day. Americans love underdogs.

Why is it that the PC guy, played by actor John Hodgman, gets to chew the scenery and create a lovable character while the Mac guy, played by actor Justin Long, has had little to do but stand around with his hands in his pockets? O.K., we get it. Vista sucks. But I remember when the Mac guy was smart and hip because he could do the most amazing things with complete aplomb. Do you realize what an indolent prig you’ve turned him into? He’s representing the Apple brand! Not good.

I suggest that you take a look at some of your earlier spots when the Mac guy actually had some nifty lines and business. You barely covered the waterfront of Apple computing benefits before you got off track. While you’ve been preoccupied with dissing Vista, Mac OS X, the iPhone, iTunes, the iPod and AppleTV have matured into a new universe of digital lifestyle connectivity. It’s not like the Mac guy has a lack of cool things he can do.

Just a little advice from a street-level design guy.

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