Expert panel critiques Apples’ new ‘Get a Mac’ ad TV campaign

“Apple’s television ads sometimes generate as much buzz as the products they’re promoting. The ads that make up the company’s recently launched ‘Get a Mac’ campaign are no exception. In heavy rotation on television channels in the US, Apple’s new commercials feature John Hodgman, The Daily Show resident expert and author of The Areas of My Expertise as a stodgy PC in a grey suit, juxtaposed with a Mac – a young, hipster in a jeans and t-shirt – portrayed by Justin Long of Dodgeball and Ed. The two banter about various things – viruses, software, slow jams – all of which are designed to show off the Mac’s strengths,” Mathew Honan reports for “So how do the new crop of ads do? Macworld invited a panel of experts to comment on the TBWA\Chiat\Day-produced spots. Hoag Levins is executive producer of, the website of Advertising Age; Barbara Lippert is a columnist for AdWeek Magazine , and Seth Stevenson writes Slate Magazine’s Ad Report Card. We asked them for their opinions on each ad, as well as the overall campaign.”

A very interesting look at Apple’s new Mac ad campaign in full here.

In addition, in related recommended reading, John Martellaro does a technical analysis of Apple’s new campaign for The Mac Observer here.

A detailed and prescient explanation of Seth Stevenson’s reaction to Apple’s ‘Get a Mac’ campaign has already been written here.

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Related articles:
Do Apple’s new ‘Get a Mac’ ads generate animosity among the uninitiated? – May 08, 2006
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
Apple debuts ‘Get a Mac’ TV ads, new section of website replaces ‘Switch’ (link to watch ads online) – May 01, 2006


  1. “One issue for me is, I haven’t done a ton of research, but I’ve read things that these distinctions are starting to be less true, that Macs do get viruses now. I’ve read a few things that would make me look closely at these claims.”

    A quote on one of the ads…so they did there research then! lol duh shows the virus fud works!

  2. snore….asking those ad people what they think about the ads is like asking al queda what they think about al quedea – it´s great, cool, mac-a-riffic!
    none of those ad people are going to bad mouth the work of other ad people.

  3. I adore John Hodgman, so I think the ads are hilarious. I think some of them are more effective than others. The one with the iPod where “Mac” tells PC that all his software is as easy to use as iTunes is good, but they could mention briefly what they DO, like “iPhoto for editing photos, iDVD for making DVD’s out of your videos.” Also the one where PC mentions his cool bundled apps (“Clock… uh, Calculator”) is a stitch. I think the most effective is the one with the Japanese digital camera, and shows how easily Mac and the camera can talk to each other to make a picture.

    But overall Hodgman is brilliant as ever, and Justin Long is so cute. Loads of fun.

  4. That Stevenson guy is really sensitive about how PCs have been portrayed in these ads. It seems clear, this is a guy who has invested a great deal in the PC camp, and just hates to admit what the new “Get a Mac” ads demonstrate. Truly sad.

  5. These comments absolutely prove that the ads are effective to the demographic that Apple was directing them to. I know that just by reading Stevensons comments that he is an overweight, balding, middle-age guy set in his ways and un-willing to try anything new.

    Apple is not concerned with converting guys like Stevenson, that pre-historic mentality will die out soon enough. Instead, Apple chooses to focus and appeal to the younger generation who are not so set in their ways and much more likely to make the switch. Smart move!

  6. Adboy – I have to disagree with your take. If anything “ad people” are more critical than anybody of advertising and design. They don’t gain anything by praising work that doesn’t deserve it. At the same time they won’t bad mouth work just because they didn’t do it. These people have been in the business for a long time and I think their comments are genuine and extremely fair.

  7. All I know is that the ads are freakin’ hilarious. My computer-illiterate sister thinks so too. Clever and funny are two good things to have on your side if you want to attract people, no?

  8. Stevenson is really out there. Basically his argument boils down to “I like the actor who portrays the PC guy.” Whenever an issue is raised, he responds with “wasn’t that actor great?”

  9. Adman, you said “These people have been in the business for a long time and I think their comments are genuine and extremely fair.”

    Stevenson’s remarks do not back up your comment. His comments made no mention of the effectiveness of the ads, just that he like the actor that portrays the PC so much that he is emotionally attached to the character. His comments were comletely one-sided toward the PC and had very little objectivity because of this. In my “opinion” Stevenson is not a very good Ad critic.

    How can you possibly creat good Ads if you have no objectivity?

  10. “This one I kind of resented because I hate when people tell me this is better, and don’t offer any argument as to why. I’m left wondering, “what makes it better? Does it have a better graphics processor or what?””

    That’s the whole idea of the ad – to get you in the Apple Store to find out!

  11. “Stevenson is obviously a PC guy.. His comment about the “Virus” ad is baffling.”

    They just WANT to believe that Mac users have to have the same experience as PC users, so they can feel better about their choice.

    Even if there were 2 or 3 Mac viruses floating around, it still would be light years off from the PC security experience.

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