“Apple has launched its latest marketing campaign aimed at converting PC users into Mac users. The six 30-second TV ads feature two actors assuming the role of a PC and a Mac and discussing their respective merits,” Seb Janacek writes for Silison.com. “It’s clear the ‘Get a Mac’ campaign is the natural successor to the Switch campaign; the audience and goal is identical – converting the average home PC user into a Mac user. The pitch is also the same: PCs cause you no end of problems; get a Mac and watch those problems vanish.”
“The format of the Get a Mac ads is sleek and effective, and uses dialogue between the two actors to highlight the superiority of the Mac over the PC. The Mac is a young chap in jeans, a hooded top and sporting designer stubble. Meanwhile, the PC is a spectacled, middle-aged, suited business man – easily ruffled and technologically clueless,” Janacek writes. “The first two ads are the most interesting. In ‘Virus’, the snuffling, sneezing PC explains that he’s caught a ‘doozy’ of a virus, one of the 114,000 that exist for the PC platform and tells the Mac to stand well back. Not to worry, says the Mac, he doesn’t get viruses. Surprised and still sneezing, the PC then crashes and falls over. The second ad, ‘Restarting’, features the PC freezing a number of times in 30 seconds and having to restart and begin his intro again. The Mac explains that he doesn’t need to restart at which point the PC freezes again and the Mac heads off to get IT. A number of ads refer to both computers being able to run Microsoft Office, to iPods and to Apple’s iLife suite of lifestyle apps for video, music and photos.”
Janacek writes, “Despite the sleekness of the ads there are a few worrying elements… the biggest problem with the ads lies with the very thing that makes them so effective: the simple characterisation of the two platforms. This dichotomy panders to the old stereotypes about Macs and PCs: that the former is cool, unflappable and savvy, while the latter is unfashionable, bloated and unstable. Furthermore, by characterising PC users as middle-aged, suited buffoons and Mac users as laid-back designer-types, the company runs the risk of alienating and insulting the very audience it’s trying to convert to its premium product range… The Get a Mac ads are an improvement on the Switch ads yet they don’t overcome the main criticism – that Macs are too cool for ‘the rest of us’. Apple must now hope they don’t generate animosity in the virus writing community – or, more importantly, among the campaign’s target audience: the uninitiated.”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Perhaps Apple’s target audience isn’t older users who are stuck in their ways, but younger, more open-minded consumers? Who’s more likely to be able to learn new things? Which type of user will actually be able to quickly (or ever) grasp the fact that when you close the window, you’re not quitting the application?* Who will buy more computers over the course of their lifetime? Apple isn’t targeting lost causes like IT geeks or middle-age accountants. This is about the future, not the past. The “Get a Mac” ads work in our opinion, because they don’t belittle the Windows PC (and Windows PC user) too much and, when they do tout superiority, they do it with humor – unlike the “Intel” ad which we thought did humorlessly alienate the uninitiated a bit too much.
* “In most cases, applications that are not document-based should quit when the main window is closed. For Example, System Preferences quits if the user closes the window. If an application continues to perform some function when the main window is closed, however, it may be appropriate to leave it running when the main window is closed. For example, iTunes continues to play when the user closes the main window.” – Apple Human Interface Guidelines, Window Behavior
[UPDATE: 2:45pm EDT: Added Apple HIG note and link.]
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Why Apple’s new ‘Get a Mac’ campaign will fail – May 04, 2006
Apple’s ‘Get a Mac’ campaign seizes the moment as Microsoft suffers Windows Vista setbacks – May 04, 2006
iTWire’s Beer: Apple’s new ‘get a Mac’ campaign misses, preaches to converted – May 04, 2006
IDC researcher: iMac, MacBook Pro ‘nice,’ but Apple will have to innovate more or they’ll disappear – January 11, 2006 (Apple’s new Intel ad fails once more)